Emily Schultz | Little Threats

little threats emily schultz

The Book: 

Little Threats by Emily Schultz, 2020

The Characters: 

Kennedy, just released from prison
Carter, her twin sister
Gerry, their father
Everett, the brother of the dead girl Haley

The Plot (from Goodreads):

In the summer of 1993, twin sisters Kennedy and Carter Wynn are embracing the grunge era and testing every limit in their privileged Richmond suburb. But Kennedy’s teenage rebellion goes too far when, after a night of partying in the woods, her best friend, Haley, is murdered, and suspicion quickly falls upon Kennedy. She can’t remember anything about the night in question, and this, along with the damning testimony from a college boy who both Kennedy and Haley loved, is enough to force Kennedy to enter a guilty plea.

In 2008, Kennedy is released into a world that has moved on without her. Carter has grown distant as she questions Kennedy’s innocence, and begins a relationship with someone who could drive the sisters apart forever. The twins’ father, Gerry, is eager to protect the family’s secrets and fragile bonds. But Kennedy’s return brings the tragedy back to the surface, along with a whole new wave of media. When a crime show host comes to town asking questions, believing the murder wasn’t as simple as it seemed, murky memories of Haley’s death come to light. As new suspects emerge and the suburban woods finally give up their secrets, two families may be destroyed again.

Click here for book spoilers for Little Threats
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Little Threats, I suggest you turn back now.

The Twist:

Carter is dating Everett, the brother of the girl that Kennedy was accused of killing. Everett decides to go on a crime TV show to talk about the murder. The producer asks him to pull together some of Haley’s old things to film for the show, and Everett finds a knife that could have been the murder weapon. Everett also finds evidence that Haley was pregnant when she died, and sends the fetal tissue to be DNA tested. 

Gerry decides to sell their house, and during the open house the producer of the crime show steals a letter opener from Gerry’s desk that he thinks could have been the murder weapon. 

Kennedy finds a note from Haley to her on the day she died, admitting that she was pregnant and that her boyfriend was not the father. The note says Haley carved the initials of the father on a tree in the woods. Kennedy tries to find the tree but can’t, but somehow knows that the note means her father killed Haley. She had called him that night to come pick them up in the woods, but was too high to remember anything else. 

Gerry has a heart attack and hallucinates Haley while he is in the hospital. When he is released, he finds out new evidence has been released about her case. He goes to the woods to try to cut down the tree with their initials. He had killed Haley to keep her from telling anyone about their affair and the baby. 

The Ending:

Kennedy sees Gerry’s car and follows him into the woods. He was holding the chainsaw wrong, and it cut him. He would have died if Kennedy wasn’t there, but she saved him. 

Kennedy and Carter go on the TV show to talk about the accident. They get their DNA tested, and Gerry is convicted.

The Review: 

Little Threats is a dark, character-driven tale of a wrongful murder conviction and how it has shaped the lives of everyone involved. 

I really enjoyed how Emily Schultz developed these characters–Kennedy as she adapts to life outside of prison, Carter as she struggles with whether or not to believe Kennedy when she says she doesn’t remember what happened that night, and Everett as he tries to cope with the loss of his sister. 

The middle of this book dragged a little bit for me, but I wanted to finish it before the publication date so I pushed through. You know from the description that new evidence comes to light as the crime TV show investigates the case, but you don’t find out until three-quarters of the way through the book what the new evidence is and what it means. I believe the ending makes up for the slow parts, though. 

Little Threats will be available in the US tomorrow, November 10. Thank you to NetGalley and G.P. Putnam’s Sons for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

little threats emily schultz
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