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The Drifter

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  547 Ratings  ·  125 Reviews
Megan Abbott meets M.O. Walsh in Christine Lennon's compelling debut novel about a group of friends on the cusp of graduating from college when their lives are irrevocably changed by a brutal act of violence.

Present Day…

For two decades, Elizabeth has tried to escape the ghosts of her past…tried to erase the painful memories…tried to keep out the terrifying nightmares. But
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 14th 2017 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Apr 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I read this as a "blind date with a book" so I went in with few expectations, and I thought it was a fairly solid debut novel. The story absolutely held my interest, though I did expect more of a mystery element based on the blurb on the back cover describing it as "a gripping thriller". It was really about the aftermath of violence and the havoc guilt and regret can wreak. There was some unevenness in the writing and some inconsistencies that irked me, but overall it was an enjoyable experience ...more
Laura Rash
Jan 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
I'm going to be in the minority in disliking this book. It was too full of minuscule details.
3.5 stars. The first 30% of the book was the strongest, the last 15% was the weakest. The middle was decent. A pretty good read but probably not overly-memorable.
Feb 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
First off, I have to comment by saying that this book did not do it for me. The only appealing aspect of this book was the time period and location. I did feel like I was back in the 90's but that was the only thing that I liked about this book. Not to say that I did not give it the college try. I read about half way. Yet, reading and actually immersing myself into this book are two different outcomes.

To be begin with, Elizabeth was not that interesting. Well not the present Elizabeth anyways.
Feb 21, 2017 rated it liked it
One more semester. Just a few final months to go before the end of college and the next phase in Betsy's life. But the semester is not off to a great start. After crashing all summer in her friends' apartment, Betsy has become a third wheel.

She, Ginny, and Caroline met at rush and have been friends ever since, but things between Caroline and Betsy have become more than strained. Things were fine while Caroline was gone for the summer, but now she's back and things are weird as ever. To make mat
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book begins in the present, with Elizabeth sitting across the street from her daughter's Manhattan preschool, monitoring it's security. She does this every morning, despite entreaties from her husband and teacher that her daughter will be safe.

Flashback to Elizabeth's life in college in Gainesville, Florida: Elizabeth was a party girl, as were her sorority friends, Caroline and Ginny. Though Elizabeth could no longer afford the sorority dues, she still crashed in the girls' rooms. She cruise
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Received via William Morrow Books/Harper Collins and Edelweiss in exchange for an completely unbiased review.
Also posted on Silk & Serif

The Drifter was a dark and thought provoking novel that took me a very, very long
time to get through. The unrelated details throughout this novel added realism to this novel in a way that made this book perhaps a little too real for me and resulted in many "breaks". The details evoked personal feelings that were perfectly related to the experiences of the
books are love
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Overall I enjoyed the story. I love how one moment changes you. How you relive the fear and the guilt and how it creates the fear and wariness. How it grips you and doesn’t let go but you still find someone to help you. How you find a way to move on even if it wasn’t a complete life but hollow. That is what Betsy feels after one night in Gainesville all those years ago. Betsy goes from being flaky and bold to lost and just trying to survive the guilt and nightmares. She has Gavin to help and lov ...more
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Betsy, Ginny and Caroline became friends after meeting at a sorority rush. But when Betsy left the sorority, her relationship with Caroline began to crumble. With one semester left, Betsy couldn’t wait to leave Gainesville and start her life. But the town has been terrorized but a serial killer that makes their lives even worse.

Twenty years later, Betsy is living in NYC and still can’t deal with the murder of one of her friends and the ruination of her friendship with the other. Then comes the i
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Smart, sharp, funny, insightful, and creepy in all the right ways. A perfect escape at the end of the day!
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Narrated the audiobook. A gorgeous, chilling, nuanced coming of age story that had me bawling at times with its portrayal of female friendship and the reverberations of trauma. Funny, time-specific, beautiful. It really moved me.
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Loved this book! Lennon is a writer to watch. The Drifter is unsettling and creepy, I couldn't put it down!
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Ok, The Drifter is a good back. For some a great book, but I felt slightly mislead by what I thought I was reading like so many others, which is why my review is a 3/3.5 star and not more. If you are going into this book because the cover looks creepy, the synopsis looking dark and thrilling and you are expecting a suspense thriller to rock your world... keep on walking. This book is general fiction with a side of a slight, very mild thriller. This is not the fault of the author, its whoever cat ...more
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was ok

This book took me SO long to get through and I've finally figured out why.

First things first, the fact that this book is categorized as a mystery is misleading. This book is not a mystery, at least not in the sense that the reader is meant to solve said mystery alongside the protagonist, leading to a dramatic finale in which "Oh, I should have seen it all along!" In fact, the campus murders that are referenced on the back cover's blurb occur in the background, nearly secondary to the plot.
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Don't let the cover or description deceive, this is not a thriller, horror, or mystery. This is about three young women in 1990 Gainesville, and one is killed by a serial killer (based on actual events). Part one sets the tone of alcohol fueled youth shaken by the murderer arriving. The rest is about the next 20 years-- living with regrets, losing friends, climbing into middle age without a clear direction in life. I really liked this.
Melanie Johnson
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
As a Georgia girl that went to a college in the 80's about an hour north of University of Florida, this story hit very close to home to me. It's based on how the author felt as she attended UF during the time that Danny Rolling murdered several women on campus. I could not put this down. Recommending to all my friends!
Rosemary Huelsebusch
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good read. While not a totally engrossing book I felt it did keep my interest. An example of how things that happen in our lives can affect us for a very long time. When we finally come to terms with how an event actually happened it can free us. Characters were fairly well developed and easily related to at that time in our lives as well.
Alyson Larrabee
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I won an "uncorrected proof" of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. The Drifter is due to be published for real in February 2017. The blurb on the back of this copy reveals way too much of the plot. It's not a mystery in the who-done-it style, actually not a mystery at all, perhaps that's why every turn of the plot except the last one (which is a whopper) are outlined on the back cover. So, I didn't race through this book to find out what happened next because it was obvious from the start. Even ...more
Judy Collins
A special thank you to Edelweiss and William Morrow for a complimentary reading copy in exchange for an honest review. Review to follow.
Nov 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Lennon's novel is a blast from the past about college life in the early ’90s. Unfortunately, the book can't quite settle on whether it's a coming-of-age story or a mystery, and both fall a bit short in the telling. The suspenseful portrayal of the Gainesville murders would have been better had the author paid some tribute to the real victims of these horrific events, because changing the names and some of the details will only serve to puzzle those who kno
Heather John
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Christine Lennon has written a stylish thriller of a debut novel about a group of friends whose lives are forever changed following a brutal act of violence. Set in Gainesville, Fla., and NYC, THE DRIFTER travels from southern sorority culture to 90s slacker drug-fueled Manhattan in a visceral, haunting story that tests the bonds of female friendships. Lennon's unforgettable characters and startling details make THE DRIFTER an absolute must read!
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, and I related to so much of it - from the great 90s references to the complicated female relationships. This is a world I recognize from my own youth and that I loved escaping into. It reminded me how intense everything feels in college, which was obviously heightened by what was going on in their community that summer. I had a hard time putting this down and definitely recommend it.
M.B. Gibson
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The protagonist, Betsy, was immediately compelling as an ex-sorority girl who didn't fit in. She is confused about where she fits in the world when an unfathomable tragedy turns that world upside down. The book is gritty and intriguing. Well written.
Jamie Rosenblit
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
3.5...i was expecting more of a mystery/psychological thriller than this was so maybe that is why i was a bit disappointed with answers appearing throughout the book, rather than a lot of buildup and suspense. Interesting premise and held my attention, pretty good a debut!
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since when does August have only 29 days?!?

Page 35: subtitle "August 23, 1990"; "It was the last Friday in August..."

2.25 stars.

Took me almost a month to get through this. Wasn't feeling it for the vast majority of the book. It's not in any way a mystery/thriller, though I'll likely leave it on my mystery shelf too, for lack of better shelf to place it on. Very little of it is creepy. There may be a serial killer in the book, but he's out of focus for most of the beginning, only mentioned in passing, really, and while the fallout of his actions influence everything in the latter half, he has almost no "thrill
Amanda Morgan
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-thing
This is the story of a traumatized woman who cannot let go of the guilt that she feels over the murder of her best friend 20 years ago.

Elizabeth is a fearful mom to pre-schooler Remi. She can't let go of her watchful perch after dropping Remi off every day at her NYC pre-school, to the point where Remi is in danger of getting kicked out of the school due to Elizabeth's unnatural watchfulness and fearful nature.

But what has made Elizabeth this way? Flashback to 20 years ago and "Betsy" is a col
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read four thriller/mysteries in the last three days, each promising to be the next Gone Girl, to shock the reader with unexpected twists and unreliable narrators and engage the reader with interesting characters. The Drifter, is the only one of the four that made good on those promises.

The Drifter is a mixed genre novel and occasionally overlaps the coming of age tale and the nostalgia novel with the thriller, but even though its exact niche in the genre box is unclear, The Drifter is a fin
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tlc-book-tours
Betsy is a smart girl who tries to hide her intelligence. While her friend Ginny is a charming bright light that no person can resist, Betsy seems to do all she can to go through life unnoticed and to be as unremarkable as possible. And where Ginny is a bright light, their friend Caroline is darkness-- moody, self-centered and oftentimes unkind.

These three friends are students at the University of Florida during the summer of 1990 when a serial killer sets everyone on edge. After graduation Eliz
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loosely based on the Danny Rolling's case, The Drifter by Christine Lennon is an interesting novel about a woman's struggles to overcome a tragedy.

In 1990, Betsy Young is looking forward to the start of her final semester in college. She is still best friends with her former sorority sister Ginny Harrington but her friendship with their other friend, Caroline, is quite rocky. Betsy is going through a bit of a rebellious stage as she tries to discover who she is and what she wants to be. She is
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Southern Noir/Southern Gothic Recommendations Please 1 2 Mar 31, 2017 08:39AM  

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“She could. “As in, more than one,” said Danny. “It’s confirmed. They found a third body. The first one they found they thought was a fluke, some pissed-off boyfriend who lost his mind. Then they found two more girls early this morning, same weird bite marks on their bodies.” Danny lifted the empty cup to his lips and launched a shell into it. “And dude, get this. One of their heads was on the bookshelf.” 0 likes
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