The Depths of a Murder

March 2024 View more

‘The Death of Us’ by Lori Rader-Day
Lori Rader-Day

Inspiration can come from anywhere. For Lori Rader-Day’s latest crime fiction novel, it came while the Chicago author was flying home from Minneapolis. “I looked out the window and just happened to see a quarry with water in it. I thought, ‘There has got to be some dead bodies in there,’ ” she says. That sparked the idea for her seventh book, The Death of Us, as she explained at a recent author talk at the 95th Street Library in Naperville.

The novel takes place in a small town where a submerged car is found in a murky pond. Fifteen years prior, Liss Kehoe’s lifelong rival, Ashley Hay, handed Liss her infant son and was never heard from again. Raising him as her own, Liss lives in fear of what might happen if Ashley ever returns. When Ashley’s car is found in a pond on the Kehoe property, the discovery dredges up more questions than answers. Someone in the small community knows the truth, and they will go to great lengths to keep it quiet. “The town takes on that ‘We know what happened’ mentality. That’s the part that I was really interested in exploring,” says Rader-Day, who also teaches creative writing at Northwestern University and cochairs the Midwest Mystery Conference.


Photos: Justin Barbin Photography