The novel’s narrator and protagonist, Camille Preaker, describes herself as “trash from money”—the least-favorite daughter of the wealthy, cruel, controlling Adora Crellin. Camille has wrestled all her life with feelings of being ugly, unloved… read analysis of Camille Preaker
Camille’s mother, Adora Crellin, is the matriarch of the wealthiest family in Wind Gap. Adora’s carefully constructed persona as a Southern belle hides the darker truths about her past and present. Raised by an… read analysis of Adora Crellin
Amma Crellin is Camille’s thirteen-year-old half-sister. A mess of contradictions, Amma is the picture-perfect daughter when at home, dressing in little girls’ dresses and bows for Adora’s delight and spending hours meticulously working… read analysis of Amma Crellin
Detective Richard Willis
Detective Richard Willis is a detective from Kansas City who has been brought to Wind Gap to assist in the investigation of Ann and Natalie’s murders. Richard is on the brink of a big… read analysis of Detective Richard Willis
Ann Nash is a nine-year-old girl who was found dead in a creek in the middle of the woods outside Wind Gap several months before the start of the novel. Ann had been strangled—and all… read analysis of Ann Nash
Natalie Keene is a ten-year-old Wind Gap girl who goes missing at the start of the novel, prompting Camille’s boss, Frank Curry, to send her to her hometown to investigate. Within days of… read analysis of Natalie Keene
John Keene is Natalie Keene’s older brother, who is a senior in high school. An emotional teenage boy, John Keene is soon singled out as a suspect in Natalie’s murder, and becomes something of… read analysis of John Keene
Meredith Wheeler is John Keene’s girlfriend, known throughout Wind Gap as “Little Miss Perfect.” Desperate for popularity and recognition—and for the salvation of her own reputation—Meredith arranges on-the-record meetings between herself, Camille, and… read analysis of Meredith Wheeler
Camille’s deceased younger sister, Marian, was a sickly child with whom Camille nonetheless forged a close friendship. Marian died when she was young, leaving Camille devastated and traumatized. It is eventually revealed that Adora… read analysis of Marian Crellin
Chief Bill Vickery
Chief Bill Vickery is the chief of police in Wind Gap. A rail-thin man in his early fifties, Vickery is committed to solving Ann and Natalie’s murders quietly and within the community. He loathes… read analysis of Chief Bill Vickery
Frank Curry is Camille’s newspaper boss in Chicago. Frank refers to Camille both lovingly and teasingly as “cubby,” as she is his favorite cub reporter. He teases Camille for being an underachiever, but at… read analysis of Frank Curry
Camille’s stepfather. A nervous and simpering man, he has enabled and turned a blind eye Adora’s loathsome and even dangerous behavior for years. He has been Camille’s stepfather since she was a baby… read analysis of Alan Crellin
Natalie Keene’s mother and Mr. Keene’s wife. The grieving woman hates reporters, and when Camille tries to interview her, she tells Camille that she is “disgusting” and “ugly.”
Natalie Keene’s father and Mrs. Keene’s husband.
Ann Nash’s father, who actually agrees to talk to Camille on the record about his daughter’s murder, as he is desperate for justice.
Ann Nash’s mother and Bob Nash’s wife.
The Crellin family’s maid, a former farm girl who traded in working on the hog farm for working for Adora directly.
A little boy who lives in Wind Gap and claims to have seen a woman dressed all in white grab Natalie Keene and pull her into the woods on the day of her disappearance.
Amma’s first friend in Chicago. After Amma notices Lily and Camille growing close, Amma kills Lily brutally, removing six of her teeth in order to complete the ivory floor of her dollhouse.
Camille’s best friend from high school.
One of Camille’s high school friends who never left Wind Gap.
A wealthy, snobbish woman who was one of Camille’s friends in high school.
One of Camille’s high-school friends who never left Wind Gap. She was the nurturing “mother” of their friend group.
One of Camille’s high-school friends who never left Wind Gap. She is uncomfortable with the fact that after many years, she still hangs out with the same group of women, whose interests have largely diverged from her own.
One of Amma’s neighborhood friends, eventually revealed to be her accomplice in murder. The weakest and most sensitive of the bunch, Jodes is often picked on by mercilessly by Amma, Kylie, and Kelsey.
One of Amma’s neighborhood friends, eventually revealed to be her accomplice in murder along with Jodes and Kelsey.
One of Amma’s neighborhood friends, eventually revealed to be her accomplice in murder along with Jodes and Kylie.
Adora’s long-deceased mother, a woman whose memory looms larger than life throughout the town of Wind Gap. Joya was an unkempt, abusive, and possessive woman who physically and emotionally abused Adora.