The world is an amazing gift, like life, but its putrefaction is overwhelming, and I cannot allow its stench to touch my family. More
The Sumners of Susanville, California, are the embodiment of virtue in their extensive rural community. Paul has a seat on the city council, Kate is an activist for the disadvantaged, and their five children follow a tradition of excellence.
Not many recall the misfortunes that cast shadows on the Sumners’ past—Kate’s loss of her infant son to parental abduction by an ex-husband; the violent kidnapping and attempted murder of her teenaged daughter, Sara; and the fact that twenty years ago, Kate killed a man in self-defense. Like the genocidal history of white American settlement in Lassen County, these unpleasant realities have purposefully faded from collective consciousness.
But when their fifteen-year-old daughter, Kristina Sumner, is forced to kill a classmate to prevent a high school shooting, the brutal act triggers a mix of shock and outrage. The scandal escalates as upstanding members of the community, faced with their own moral dilemma, find themselves pinned beneath the small town microscope, as powerless to control the same type of harsh condemnation that has dogged the Sumners, and just as determined to silence it.
Big Lies in Small Town examines the malignant architecture of human behavior, in this fictional recount of life in rural California.