Here’s a Laird Koenig novel about a young girl with secrets, who lives alone, and lives in her head. However, Rynn is not a normal child because everyone around her disappears. Where are her parents, because nobody has seen them.
Unlike the movie, we know Rynn is a murderer in this novel. After the first 100 pages, we learn Rynn locked Cora Hallet, the realtor who rented the house to Rynn’s father, in the basement and gassed her to death. This fact was left out of the movie.
The book gets deep into the basement imagery. The book almost wants to say that the basement, where dead bodies are kept, is some kind of deep dark subconscious. And that an unexpected sudden monster appears out of nowhere from the basement to drag people into it to never return alive, and Rynn is that monster. Or at least the basement represents some evil dark unseen secrets in Rynn’s subconscious that suddenly appear out of nowhere only to disappear just as fast.
The part about Rynn’s hidden chipped tooth seems to allude to the fact that the basement represents a dark scary place of Rynn’s hidden subconscious. As you know, after reading the novel, Rynn’s chipped tooth seems to represent some kind of superficial aspect of Rynn: on the surface things look ok, but on closer inspection things are broken like Rynn. The basement seems to represent something, deeper, darker, and hidden like Rynn’s broken tooth she tries to hide.
As well, the movie portrays Cora Hallet as harmless, which isn’t true. In the novel, we learn from police officer Miglioriti that Hallet carries a Magnum 45 on her driver side of the Bentley car. Cora is quite dangerous.
Also, the novel really paints a negative picture of Frank Hallet, son of Cora Hallet. In the novel, Frank is much older than Charlie Sheen. Frank, too, stinks of cologne, and he is in need of psychological treatment for bothering kids. The novel reveals Frank was dominated by his mom, had hands like a woman, and wore chap stick.
The novel gets into Frank’s stalking of Rynn in detail. The novel reveals Frank has been watching Rynn since Halloween from a bush. Frank, too, watches Rynn’s house when officer Miglioriti shows up along with Mario Podesta, Rynn’s boyfriend and accomplice. The novel reveals that Frank might know Rynn killed his mother by various clues: Frank sat on the wood pile box that had his missing mother’s umbrella in it while he smiled; Frank knew his mother wouldn’t be needing her glass jars to preserve foods again. All the time, Rynn wasn’t sure if Frank knew she killed his mother, but Frank’s smile made Rynn wonder, as repeated in the book.
The novel only gives Rynn’s side of the story about her mother. Rynn saw her mother as a bad parent who beat her. As well, Rynn reveals her mother was a violent money hungry mother. Rynn states her mother was an alcoholic. It should be mentioned that Rynn murdered her mother, but for all we know, Rynn’s mother could of been a good person as opposed to the story Rynn gave of her mother.
We learn, too, Frank is money hungry. We learn this fact when Frank is seen driving his mother’s Bentley around, which his mother never allowed anyone to drive. Frank spent no time driving his mother’s car even though she was missing, so Frank probably knew Rynn killed his mother.
The book gets into officer Miglioriti suspicions of Frank. The police officer thinks Cora Hallet won’t be seen again, because Frank is driving her car. Miglioriti may suspect Frank of having something to do with his mother’s disappearance.
The book reveals there is some kind of major political battle in the community between officer Miglioriti and the Hallets. From what the book tells us, Cora Hallet was a big racist against officer Miglioriti and so was Frank Hallet. However, by the end of the novel, the officer reveals his days are numbered in town because Frank sits on the police board that promotes officers and Miglioriti knows Frank and his friends will not promote him; therefore, officer Miglioriti transfers out to San Francisco, California where there is a future for officers like him.
At the end of this novel, Frank and Rynn do battle. Frank, upon seeing Rynn as a convenient patsy to blame his mother’s disappearance on, arrives at Rynn’s house in order to make her his slave-or kill her at least. Rynn, on the other hand and much to Frank’s lack of knowledge, is a killer who goes about poisoning him. Rynn wins the battle at the end of the novel against Frank.
One thing about officer Miglioriti: he probably knew Rynn killed Cora. Why? When you read the book, the officer reveals he never believed Rynn’s story about her dad being home or around from the start. It was almost like the officer didn’t care to act on that knowledge. Why? Because Miglioriti had big political enemies in the Hallets. The officer probably wanted to looked like he was doing his job, but in reality, it was in his interest if a Hallet disappeared, because he had political aspirations in the community.
Overall, the characters on the book are deeply twisted. Rynn is a child serial killer. Mario Podesta is a pedo like Frank Hallet. Cora Hallet enables a pedo son. And officer Miglioriti only seems to really care about his political aspirations. The book reveals a twisted community.
One last thing about the novel and it’s the landline phone. During the ending, Frank Hallet takes the phone with him to the basement along with the long cord. Frank did this so Rynn couldn’t use the phone. Having said that, it’s so strange how technology has changed to the point we don’t need a cord for the phone anymore-something I am sure is lost on recent generations. But apparently killers had to keep the phone and it’s cord in mind when killing victims in the 1970s.