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Tribute to the women whose lives were cut short

Cover of Bright Young Women
A review of Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll

On a Saturday night in 1978, a man enters a Florida sorority house and systematically attacks women from room to room, leaving them for dead. He flees the sorority down the main staircase and out the front door as the sorority president Pamela Schumacher stands in the shadows, frozen in fear. She sees the killer's face and haunted by that night and the aftermath of the attack, she's determined to find justice. She's obsessed with finding the killer and eventually earns a law degree with the intention of facing him in court one day.

At the same time, Tina Cannon is searching for the man who was last seen with her missing friend in Seattle. After showing Pamela a drawing of the man, the two realize the sorority house killer is the same man Tina has been searching for. Throughout the 1970s before he was caught, he was described by the media as the "All-American Sex Killer," targeting women from coast to coast. The victims were young: predominantly college students and scholars living in sororities, attending academic conferences and preparing for their bright futures.  

Told by two women from opposite sides of the country in alternating chapters that span almost forty years, this is the fictionalized story of how a well-known serial killer gets away with murder by evading police custody and escaping from jail, making his way across the country where he claims more lives and ultimately outwits the justice system until a young lawyer who was witness to his crimes puts a stop to it.

Based on the story of Ted Bundy, Bright Young Women tells the story from the perspective of the victims and the friends and family left behind. Part psychological thriller, part true crime, this is a devastating look at the aftermath of horrific crimes that went under-detected and ignored for too long.  

A New York Times Notable Book of 2023
New York Times Editors’ Choice
Instant New York Times Bestseller

A Goodreads Choice Award Finalist
Named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, The Washington Post, Harper’s Bazaar, Kirkus Reviews, CrimeReads, Booklist, and more!
An Edgar Award Nominee for Best Novel

Mar 5, 2024