I’ve been meaning to read this for a while, but I was somewhat put off by the cover and by not really having enjoyed Rosewater — Thompson’s writing is great, but more visceral than I intend to enjoy. Still, The Murders of Molly Southbourne is a short book, and packs a heck of a punch, even though in the end we don’t really get very good answers.
The premise is simple: whenever Molly bleeds, a copy of her is born. They inevitably try to attack her, so her parents raise her to avoid bleeding as much as possible, destroy all traces of her blood, and kill the copies as fast and thoroughly as possible. They also teach her to hide her tracks, and set up a private security company to take care of any issues that crop up in future, tattooing the number into her arm so she’ll always have it with her.
This isn’t really a story about how that came to happen, although a potential explanation does get revealed at the end. It’s mostly about what you would do if you lived that life, how it might play out, and all the ways you might try to get away. It’s oddly flat and emotionless half of the time, in a way that feels like someone telling you a story in a very level voice to hide anything they might feel about it — a restrained, controlled sense, rather than a sense that there is no feeling there.
I know there’s a sequel, and I’m definitely curious enough to give it a try. If you like things to make sense and have all the answers in a self-contained story, it may not be for you so much, but I found it a fun and fast read.