Finished Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin.
Summary (from Goodreads):
“Carl Louis Feldman is an old man who was once a celebrated photographer. That was before he was tried for the murder of a young woman and acquitted. before his admission to a care home for dementia. Now his daughter has come to see him, to take him on a trip. Only she’s not his daughter and, if she has her way, he’s not coming back . . .
Because Carl’s past has finally caught up with him. The young woman driving the car is convinced her passenger is guilty, and that he’s killed, other young women. Including her sister Rachel. Now they’re following the trail of his photographs, his clues, his alleged crimes. To see if he remembers any of it. Confesses to any of it. To discover what really happened to Rachel. Has Carl truly forgotten what he did or is he just pretending? Perhaps he’s guilty of nothing and she’s the liar. Either way in driving him into the Texan wilderness she’s taking a terrible risk. For if Carl really is a serial killer, she’s alone in the most dangerous place of all . . .”
This book reminded me of the foreign film The Vanishing, in that the main character puts herself (himself, in the movie) in a situation that is beyond unsafe in order to know what happened to her sister (the girlfriend, in the movie). With every single move that the narrator makes (we don’t learn her name until the very end), I seriously wanted to shake her and yell that she was doing the literal dumbest thing possible.
Even so, I understood why she did it and I also found myself being lulled into complacency around Carl. (Yes, I wanted to yell at myself, too.)
This book is absolutely stunning and you won’t see anything coming. Highly recommended.