The narrator, Richard, is a young man from a dysfunctional family in an ordinary lower-class town in California. He tries to fit in with a clique of snobby rich kids and their very quirky professor, and things don't go well. His friends drink to excess and have little concept how "real people" live, and Richard gets sucked into a hair-raising murder plot. This is not a spoiler, as he mentions this turn of events in the prologue. Instead of "who did it," the story explores why and how the crime was committed and more significantly the lasting effects the crime has on those who committed it. From the latter point of view, it was an intriguing story; however, on balance I didn't especially care for the book, even though it appears on several of the "must read" lists I've consulted to build part of my TBR list.
While it's well written and has a good structure, I found the pacing to be uneven and the timelines elusive. More importantly, I barely liked Richard and couldn't stand any of his "friends." They're all poor little rich kids who do horrible things and use twisted logic to justify their behavior. I felt like I needed to take a shower after reading certain sections.
This is also an entry on the "literary road map" I've been working through over the last several months. It's the selection for Vermont, and it seems to evoke the essence of the place fairly well, though I have only been there in person for a few nights many years ago.
I'm somewhat behind in my reading goals and even more behind with my posts. Home computer issues, a crazy boss, and the long-awaited arrival of spring are to blame. I do have a plan for catching up on both accounts, so we'll see how that goes.