Title: On the Savage Side
Author: Tiffany McDaniel
Release Date: February 14, 2023
Six women--mothers, daughters, sisters--gone missing. When the first is found floating dead in the river, it reveals the disturbing truth of a small Ohio town. Inspired by the unsolved murders of the Chillicothe Six, this harrowing and haunting novel tells the story of two sisters, both of whom could be the next victims, from the internationally-bestselling author of Betty.
Arcade and Daffodil are twin sisters born one minute apart. With their fiery red hair and thirst for an escape, they forge an unbreakable bond nurtured by both their grandmother's stories and their imaginations. Together, they create a world where a patch of grass reveals an archaeologist's dig, the smoke emerging from the local paper mill becomes the dust rising from wild horses galloping on the ground, and an abandoned 1950s convertible transforms into a time machine that can take them anywhere.
But the two sisters can't escape the generational chaos that grips their family. Growing up in the shadow of the town, the sisters cling tight to one another. As an adult, Arcade wrestles with these memories of her life, just as a local woman is discovered drowned in the river. Soon, more bodies are found. While her friends disappear around her, Arcade is forced to reckon with the past while the killer circles ever closer. Arcade's promise to keep herself and her sister safe becomes increasingly desperate while the powerful riptide of the savage side becomes more difficult to resist.
Drawing from the true story of women killed in her native Ohio, acclaimed novelist and poet Tiffany McDaniel has written a powerful literary testament and fearless elegy for missing women everywhere.
I'm an outlier for this one. I did not enjoy On the Savage Side.
I was hoping for a different type of book. This was a dark novel without hope.
On the Savage Side was inspired by the murders of the Chillicothe Six. I was hoping to see more justice for these women in the novel since in real life the actual women who were murdered have not had it since two of the missing women are still missing, presumed dead but no body has been recovered.
What rang true was the lack of worry the police felt about trying to find who was killing the prostitutes and drug addicts.
The main character is Arc Doggs. She has a twin named Daffy. They live with their mother and aunt. Both prostitutes and heroin drug addicts. The twins experience child and sexual abuse. They grow up poor and without anyone helping them after their grandmother is killed. So as teenagers, they succumb to drugs and to be able to afford their addiction they become prostitutes themselves.
As I said earlier this book was not for me. The prose was slow and the novel was full of imagery, symbolism, and constant metaphors. Too much for my taste.
A complimentary copy was provided by Knopf via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.