This is for my sister.

My mother.

My cousin.

Too many friends to count.

And all your sisters and mothers and cousins

and friends.

Chapter One

EVERYTHING WOULD HAVE BEEN FINE if a car hadn’t backfired.

The explosion ripped through the midday tranquillity of downtown Devon like a rifle shot, leaving an acrid scent in its wake. By the time Beth spotted the car responsible—a dilapidated station wagon rattling along the street, trailing smoke from its exhaust pipe—Missy was frenetic with fear, barking and straining at the brand-new leash Beth had just clipped around the puppy’s furry little neck. Missy lurched this way and that, straining at the strap, scampering wildly around the sidewalk until the leash circled Beth’s ankles. One sharp tug yanked her legs out from under her, spilling her into an undignified sprawl on the sidewalk.

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