On the Savage Side
Six women - mothers, daughters, sisters - gone missing.
Inspired by the unsolved murders of the Chillicothe Six, this is the story of two sisters, both of whom could be the next victims.
Arcade and Daffodil are twin sisters born one minute apart. With their fiery red hair and thirst for an escape, they form an unbreakable bond nurtured by their grandmother's stories. Together they disappear into their imagination and forge a world where a patch of grass reveals an archaeologist's dig, the smoke emerging from the local paper mill becomes the dust rising from wild horses galloping deep beneath the earth, and an abandoned 1950s convertible transforms into a time machine that can take them anywhere.
But no matter how hard they try, Arc and Daffy can't escape the generational ghosts that haunt their family. And so, left to fend for themselves in the shadow of their rural Ohio town, the two sisters cling tight to one another.
Years later, as the sisters wrestle with the memories of their early life, a local woman is discovered dead in the river. Soon, more bodies are left floating in the water, and as the killer circles ever closer, Arc's promise to keep herself and her sister safe becomes increasingly desperate - and the powerful riptide of the savage side more difficult to survive.
Drawing from the true story of women killed in Chillicothe, Ohio, acclaimed novelist and poet Tiffany McDaniel has written a moving literary testament and fearless elegy for missing women everywhere.
PRAISE FOR TIFFANY McDANIEL'S BETTY
'A coming-of-age story filled with magic in language and plot' Observer
'I felt consumed by this book. I loved it, you will love it' Daisy Johnson
'A page-turning Appalachian coming-of-age story told in undulating prose that settles right into you' Naoise Dolan
'Vivid and lucid, Betty has stayed with me' Kiran Millwood Hargrave
McDaniel's stunning latest (after Betty) draws on a string of real-life unsolved murders and disappearances in Chillicothe, Ohio. The economically depressed town reeks of funk from the paper mill and an equally pungent stench of despair. Twin sisters Arcade and Daffy retreat into their fierce imaginations while growing up in the 1980s, despite their parents being addicted to heroin. Their resilience persists even after their father dies from an overdose: Daffy shows promise as a swimmer and poet, Arcade as an amateur archaeologist. By the time the two become teens, they too succumb to heroin addiction and turn to sex work to support their habit. They form fervent friendships with a group of other young women, calling themselves the "Chillicothe Queens," though their "crowns" are the blissful highs of heroin. After a woman turns up dead in the river, followed by others including some of the twins' friends, Arcade grows increasingly desperate to save them from a similar fate. McDaniel portrays the twins and the others in their group as almost preternaturally bright, full of knowledge and wonder, making for an aching contrast to their traumas of addiction, abuse, violence, and loss. It's a striking portrayal of women fighting for their lives, and one readers won't soon forget.