book cover of The Good Ones
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The Good Ones

A novel by

2024 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ+ Mystery (nominee)

'Stunning . . . a true page-turning mystery. I adored it'

CHRIS WHITAKER, author of We Begin at the End

'An irresistible mystery, superbly crafted'

ANNA BAILEY, author of Tall Bones

'Compelling . . . I read it in a single sitting'

HAYLEY SCRIVENOR, author of Dirt Town

'Gripping . . . an ending I never saw coming'

ANA REYES, author of The House in the Pines

A dark, compelling thriller about a small town simmering with secrets, perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, Lisa Jewell and Shari Lapena.


On a hot August day, Lauren Ballard mysteriously vanished from her home, leaving signs of a violent struggle.

Sixteen years on, still haunted by her friend's disappearance, Nicola Bennett returns to her hometown. For Nicola, Tyndall County has remained frozen in time. Everywhere she turns she's reminded of Lauren. Yet startlingly, her former friends and neighbours have all moved on.

Nicola begins to trace over the events of that summer, hoping to discover a clue to Lauren's fate. Deep down she knows the answers are tucked in the hollows and valleys of this rural Virginia county.

But as secrets come to light and the truth begins to unravel, will Nicola finally break free of the past - or lose herself completely in the questions she can never answer?

Genre: Mystery

Praise for this book

"Sharp, smart and often sexy, The Good Ones is a knockout. Lauren Ballard's disappearance may be the core of this story, but it's the many raw secrets of Tyndall County that make this novel unique, clever, and compelling." - Ace Atkins

"The Good Ones by Polly Stewart is a stunning achievement. With gorgeous writing, a compelling, flawed protagonist whose journey is so authentic, and an intricate mystery in which everyone is a suspect, this debut is captivating. The twists and turns are seamless and subtle, fully immersing us in a world of wealth and power in a small town, where the line between love and hate closely bleeds together. And just when you think you've figured it all out, Stewart wallops you with a mind-blowing ending." - Samantha M Bailey

"A young mother vanishes from her Appalachian hometown leaving little more than rumors and blood-stained carpets in her wake. Her overeducated and true-crime obsessed childhood friend is left to uncover what really happened in this stylish and totally compelling mystery that is as concerned with finding a missing woman as it is with challenging our assumptions about motherhood. I loved it!" - Darcey Bell

"An unsettling mystery about a young mother's disappearance and the cost of centering ourselves in someone else's story. Dark, suspenseful, and thought-provoking, The Good Ones kept me turning pages late into the night." - Allison Buccola

"Polly Stewart's The Good Ones is a fantastic achievement. A classic Southern Gothic tale told through the prism of modern-day sensibilities. Not to be missed." - S A Cosby

"Polly Stewart's stunning novel The Good Ones is reminiscent of Gone Girl with elements of Yellowjackets thrown in. This book dives straight into the heart of Appalachia, unearthing teenage tensions and full-grown fears which connect in ways I never saw coming. Fans of Megan Abbott will rejoice in this intricately textured addition to the rural noir canon." - Eli Cranor

"I can't stop thinking about Polly Stewart's The Good Ones. Smartly suspenseful and knife-sharp, this thriller explores the way our mistakes refuse to stay confined to the past tense. Stewart upends our understanding of how we fit into the stories that surround us--both the ones we tell ourselves and the narratives others spin for us. In these pages, those who stay behind have as many secrets as those who go missing, and I couldn't stop reading until I'd untangled every mystery." - Sara Flannery Murphy

"The Good Ones by Polly Stewart is a riveting debut crime novel that's loaded with elements that readers will love - powerful characters, a fraught homecoming, and twists galore." - Alex Segura

"Bold, beautiful, savage and stunning. The Good Ones is a taut thriller, an elegant exploration of loss and the haunt of past mistakes, and a true page-turning mystery. I adored it." - Chris Whitaker

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