On a hot August day, Lauren Ballard mysteriously vanished from her home, leaving signs of a violent struggle.
Sixteen years on, still haunted by her friend’s disappearance, Nicola Bennett returns to her hometown. For Nicola, Tyndall County has remained frozen in time. Everywhere she turns she’s reminded of Lauren. Yet startlingly, her former friends and neighbours have all moved on.
Nicola begins to trace over the events of that summer, hoping to discover a clue to Lauren’s fate. Deep down she knows the answers are tucked in the hollows and valleys of this rural Virginia county.
But as secrets come to light and the truth begins to unravel, will Nicola finally break free of the past – or lose herself completely in the questions she can never answer?
“Smartly suspenseful and knife-sharp… In these pages, those who stay behind have as many secrets as those who go missing, and I couldn’t stop reading until I’d untangled every mystery.” - Sara Flannery Murphy, author of GIRL ONE
“The friendship at the heart of this gripping mystery is among the darkest and most complicated relationships I’ve read. THE GOOD ONES has me suspecting everyone in Tyndall County, only to be proven wrong by an ending I never saw coming. Polly Stewart is an author to watch.”
- Ana Reyes, author of Reese’s Book Club pick THE HOUSE IN THE PINES
“A fantastic achievement. A classic Southern Gothic tale told through the prism of modern-day sensibilities. Not to be missed.” - S. A. Cosby, author of RAZORBLADE TEARS
“Reminiscent of GONE GIRL with elements of YELLOWJACKETS thrown in.” - Eli Cranor, author of DON’T KNOW TOUGH
“A riveting debut crime novel that's loaded with elements that readers will love - powerful characters, a fraught homecoming, and twists galore. I really enjoyed reading this - and I'm certain I won't be alone in that.” - Alex Segura, author of SECRET IDENTITY
“A stunning achievement. With gorgeous writing, a compelling, flawed protagonist whose journey is so authentic, and an intricate mystery in which everyone is a suspect, this debut is captivating. The twists and turns are seamless and subtle . . . a mind-blowing ending.” - Samantha M. Bailey, author of WOMAN ON THE EDGE
“Sharp, smart and often sexy, THE GOOD ONES is a knockout . . . the many raw secrets of Tyndall County that make this novel unique, clever, and compelling.” - Ace Atkins, New York Times bestselling author of THE HEATHENS
“Bold, beautiful, savage and stunning. THE GOOD ONES is a taut thriller, an elegant exploration of loss and the haunt of past mistakes, and a true page-turning mystery. I adored it.” - Chris Whitaker, bestselling author of WE BEGIN AT THE END
“Stylish and totally compelling . . . as concerned with finding a missing woman as it is with challenging our assumptions about motherhood. I loved it!” - Darcey Bell, author of A SIMPLE FAVOR
“Dark, suspenseful and thought-provoking . . . kept me turning pages late into the night” - Alison Buccola, author of CATCH HER WHEN SHE FALLS
“A haunting, gorgeously rendered portrayal . . . A riveting, unflinching exploration of adolescent female friendships, small-town pressures to conform, and the true crime lover's tendency to conflate empathy and voyeurism, THE GOOD ONES drew me in from the first lines and still hasn't released me, days after finishing. I envy readers opening Polly Stewart's beautiful, assured novel for the first time.” - Katie Gutierrez, author of Radio 2 Book Club pick MORE THAN YOU'LL EVER KNOW
"An irresistible mystery, superbly crafted with all the stealth and intrigue of the best Southern Gothics" - Anna Bailey, Sunday Times bestselling author of TALL BONES
“A startling, riveting tale about female friendship, past trauma, and the secrets we keep. Breathlessly entertaining and sharply incisive, Polly Stewart’s debut is a must-read.” - Kirstin Chen, New York Times bestselling author of COUNTERFEIT
“Smart, dark, and suspenseful, THE GOOD ONES skillfully navigates the sharp edges of small-town secrets that cut deep. A beautifully written mystery that’ll keep you guessing till the end.” - Laura McHugh, award winning author of WHAT’S DONE IN DARKNESS
“Some teenage hurts never go away. Polly Stewart’s haunting and menacing novel is an event of voice, and a compelling mystery that probes the dark places our minds go when a woman or girl is missing. THE GOOD ONES pokes an exploring finger into old bruises, showing how the small decisions we make can change everything. I read it in a single sitting.” - Hayley Scrivenor, author of No. 1 Australian bestseller DIRT TOWN
“A hometown mystery with a plot twist that will blow your flip-flops off.” - Oprah Daily