“In “Bright Young Women,” Jessica Knoll offers readers an intensely gripping tale that draws inspiration from the real-life crimes of Ted Bundy. The narrative masterfully shuttles between two protagonists – Pamela Schumacher, the sorority president at Florida State University’s Tallahassee campus, who becomes the sole witness to an unspeakable act of violence, and Tina Cannon, a determined woman who connects the dots between the tragedy in Florida and her friend Ruth Wachowsky’s mysterious disappearance in Seattle. Their journeys converge as they seek truth and justice.
Knoll’s prowess in character development shines bright in this novel. Where her previous works showcased a penchant for twisty psychological plots, “Bright Young Women” focuses on the depth of the characters, creating a rich tapestry of emotion, trauma, and resilience. While the story unfolds in the haunting backdrop of 1978, its themes remain poignantly relevant, especially in its portrayal of women caught in the wake of devastating events, their tenacity, and their quest for justice.
An ingenious touch is the reframing of Ted Bundy’s narrative. While the infamous killer was once referred to as a ‘bright young man’, Knoll redirects the spotlight onto the women, both the victims and the survivors. The decision to refer to Bundy only as ‘the defendant’ underscores the book’s commitment to centering the women’s stories over his.
Moving away from her previous psychological thrillers, Knoll’s “Bright Young Women” is a testament to her versatility as a writer. The story is both heart-breaking and empowering, reminding us of the strength of sisterhood and the unyielding spirit of women in the face of adversity. A thought-provoking, compelling read that is bound to leave a lasting impressions.
Also Read: The Last Devil to Die: By Richard Osman