“A swift, harrowing classic perfect for these unnerving times.” —Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation
One moonlit night, fourteen-year-old Reena Virk went to join friends at a party and never returned home.
In this “tour de force of crime reportage” (Kirkus Reviews), acclaimed author Rebecca Godfrey takes us into the hidden world of the seven teenage girls—and boy—accused of a savage murder. As she follows the investigation and trials, Godfrey reveals the startling truth about the unlikely killers. Laced with lyricism and insight, Under the Bridge is an unforgettable look at a haunting modern tragedy.
With a gripping journalistic style, novelist Godfrey (The Torn Skirt) recounts the story behind a horrific murder in a small British Columbia town. One November night in 1997, 14-year-old Reena Virk was savagely beaten and drowned under a waterway bridge. From a small East Indian community, Reena was alienated from her family and spent her time desperately trying to find a place with a tough crowd of teenagers, several of whom had been in trouble with the law. But one of the girls held a grudge against her, and Reena apparently was lured to her violent end by a promise of friendship. Seven girls and one boy initially were charged with assault. Two were convicted of murder: Warren Glowatski, now serving a life sentence, and Kelly Ellard, who was found guilty in 2005 after three trials. Godfrey is careful not to make judgments, but her informed writing reveals a remorseful Warren, an unrepentant Kelly (who denies her guilt) and other psychologically damaged members of the group, sharply etched, whose casual brutality, enabled by drug use, led to a brutal and senseless death. Godfrey's account contains some recreated dialogue but overall is meticulously researched and harrowing to read. B&W photos.