The Good Ones delivers a powerful story about loss and the evolution of memories in a relentless search for answers.


The Description

Publication Date: June 6, 2023

An engrossing work of literary suspense that illuminates the push and pull of female friendship and the costs of being good when the rules for women begin to chafe.

The last time Nicola Bennett saw Lauren Ballard she was scraping a key along the side of a new cherry-red Chevy Silverado. That was the night before her friend mysteriously vanished from her home, leaving a bloodstained washcloth and signs of a struggle—as well as her grieving husband and young daughter—behind.

Now, nearly twenty years later, Nicola, newly unemployed and still haunted by the disappearance of her childhood friend, is returning to her Appalachian hometown. For Nicola, Tyndall County has remained frozen in time. Everywhere she turns she’s reminded of Lauren. Yet shockingly, her former friends and neighbors have all moved on. Drawn to stories of missing girls, Nicola obsessively searches the internet, hoping to discover a clue to Lauren’s ultimate fate.

Driven by a desperate need to know what happened to her friend, Nicola takes a job in her hometown, determined to uncover any bit of information, any small clue, that can help. Deep down she knows the answers are tucked in the hollows and valleys of this small Blue Ridge county. As secrets come to light and the truth begins to unravel, will Nicola finally find release and break free of the past—or lose herself completely to unanswered questions from her adolescence?

The Review

After almost two decades, Nicola returns to her Appalachian hometown, still haunted by the disappearance of her childhood friend.

Author Polly Stewart delivers a tale packed with suspense in The Good Ones as Nicola gets pulled back into the memories of the past. She can’t accept that no one knows what happened to Lauren.

Even as Nicola and Warren act on their mutual attraction, someone is determined to send a message that Nicola isn’t wanted. As the pieces of the puzzle fall into place, Nicola must decide how to move forward.

While on the surface, it might seem like this story is a missing person’s case, Lauren’s disappearance is only a detail among many. The key theme focuses on how age-old mistakes have a tendency to pop up at inopportune times, especially if the original lesson hasn’t been learned.

Nicola is a complicated character who, for all intents and purposes, should never have hung out with Lauren. Since Nicola returns to her hometown after her mother’s death, she’s able to view her memories from a more mature set of eyes.

The Good Ones delivers a powerful story about loss and the evolution of memories in a relentless search for answers.Buy Links

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About The AuthorPolly Stewart grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, where she still lives. She graduated from Hollins University and has an MFA in fiction and a PhD in British literature from Washington University in St. Louis. Her short fiction has appeared in literary collections and journals, including Best New American VoicesThe Best American Mystery StoriesEpoch, and the Alaska Quarterly Review. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, Crime Readsand Poets & Writers, among other publications.



Amy Wilson
Amy Wilson
My name is Amy W., and I am a book addict. I will never forget the day I came home from junior high school to find my mom waiting for me with one of the Harlequin novels from my stash. As she was gearing up for the "you shouldn't be reading this" lecture, I told her the characters get married in the end. I'm just glad she didn't find the Bertrice Small book hidden in my closet. I have diverse reading tastes, evident by the wide array of genres on my Kindle. As I made the transition to an e-reader, I found myself worrying that something could happen to it. As a result, I am now the proud owner of four Kindles -- all different kinds, but plenty of back-ups! "Fifty Shades of Grey" gets high marks on my favorites list -- not for character development or dialogue (definitely not!), but because it blazed new ground for those of us who believe provocative fiction is more than just an explicit cover. Sylvia Day, Lexie Blake, and Kristin Hannah are some of my favorite authors. Speaking of diverse tastes, I also enjoy Dean Koontz, Iris Johansen, and J.A. Konrath. I’m always ready to discover new-to-me authors, especially when I toss in a palate cleanser that is much different than what I would normally read. Give me something with a well-defined storyline, add some suspense (or spice), and I am a happy reader. Give me a happily ever after, and I am downright giddy.


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The Good Ones delivers a powerful story about loss and the evolution of memories in a relentless search for answers.5-STAR REVIEW: THE GOOD ONES by Polly Stewart