we are all the same in the dark julia heaberlin
Book Review / Julia Heaberlin / Reviews with Spoilers

Julia Heaberlin | We Are All The Same in the Dark

we are all the same in the dark julia heaberlin

The Book: 

We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin, 2020

The Characters: 

Odette Tucker, the cop
Her cousin Maggie
Trumanell Branson, the girl who disappeared 10 years ago
Wyatt Branson, her brother, town pariah

The Plot (from Goodreads):

It’s been a decade since Trumanell Branson disappeared, leaving only a bloody handprint behind. Her pretty face still hangs like a watchful queen on the posters on the walls of the town’s Baptist church, the police station, and in the high school. They all promise the same thing: We will find you. Meanwhile, her brother, Wyatt, lives as a pariah in the desolation of the old family house, cleared of wrongdoing by the police but tried and sentenced in the court of public opinion and in a new documentary about the crime.

When Wyatt finds a lost girl dumped in a field of dandelions, making silent wishes, he believes she is a sign. The town’s youngest cop, Odette Tucker, believes she is a catalyst that will ignite a seething town still waiting for its own missing girl to come home. But Odette can’t look away. She shares a wound that won’t close with the mute, one-eyed mystery girl. And she is haunted by her own history with the missing Tru.

Desperate to solve both cases, Odette fights to save the lost girl in the present and to dig up the shocking truth about a fateful night in the past–the night her friend disappeared, the night that inspired her to become a cop, the night that wrote them all a role in the town’s dark, violent mythology.

Click here for book spoilers for We Are All the Same in the Dark
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read We Are All the Same in the Dark, I suggest you turn back now.

Wyatt and Odette dated in high school. Odette is now married to Finn, a lawyer, but they are separated.

Wyatt is accused of harassing a girl who looks like Trumanell and is arrested. Odette gets him released, but then he disappears from his house. Someone is leaving messages for Odette, including one that just says “70×7” and a shovel. Suddenly Odette knows where she has to dig. Someone comes up on her as she is digging, and then she disappears. 

(Damn, I did not expect Odette to disappear. Good thing I didn’t read the reviews before I read the book, because literally every review on Goodreads spoils this! Not exactly sure how I’m going to write a review without spoiling it, because I loved Angel’s character even more than Odette’s)

The book jumps to five years later and the perspective of Angel, the one-eyed girl that Wyatt had found in a field and Odette brought to a safe house. Angel is determined to figure out what happened to both Odette and Trumanell, since Odette saved her life. 

Angel finds Odette’s personal case notes, and realizes that 70×7 is from a bible verse. She goes to Odette’s old partner Rusty with the information from the book, but refuses to tell him how she knows what she does. 

Angel sneaks back into Odette and Finn’s house to finish reading the book. While she’s reading, someone tries to attack her, although he assumed she was in the bathroom when she was really in the closet. Angel knocked him out with one of Odette’s legs. 

The Twist:

Odette’s aunt had cheated on her husband with Wyatt’s dad Frank, and Maggie was his daughter. Odette’s uncle (her father’s brother and the town reverend) had found out and went to the Branson farm to confront Frank Branson. He held the whole family at gunpoint while Odette came to visit Wyatt and Wyatt was told to make her leave. Wyatt tried to wrestle the gun from the pastor, but the gun went off and shot Trumanell. 

Odette’s uncle called her father (a cop) to cover up what happened. Her father killed Frank Branson. 

The uncle/reverend was the one that Angel knocked out. He confesses. 

The Ending:

While clearing out Odette’s house, Angel finds a map to Trumanell’s grave. Odette’s body is in the same grave. The reverend hung himself. Angel goes off to college. Wyatt got off with just community service for not coming forward about the murders.

The Review: 

I’m going to keep my review short, because I definitely recommend going into this one blind.

I really enjoyed this book, especially the ending. It was certainly a slow-burn mystery, but the characters are so compelling that they hold your interest through the slow parts. I love strong female protagonists, and this book has plenty of them. Odette is certain she can figure out what happened to Trumanell, and never gives up. I admire her persistence, both in regard to the case and to going through life as a one-legged police officer. 

We Are All The Same in the Dark was beautifully written. You don’t usually see this kind of gorgeous prose in thriller novels, and I loved the change of pace. I could really feel the sadness in the bones of this small town–JH does an amazing job of painting a picture in your mind. 

Read this if you liked: 

  • Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
we are all the same in the dark julia heaberlin
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