EXCERPT: I Killed Zoe Spanos

For fans of Sadie and Serial, this gripping thriller follows two teens whose lives become inextricably linked when one confesses to murder and the other becomes determined to uncover the real truth no matter the cost.

What happened to Zoe won’t stay buried…

When Anna Cicconi arrives to the small Hamptons village of Herron Mills for a summer nanny gig, she has high hopes for a fresh start. What she finds instead is a community on edge after the disappearance of Zoe Spanos, a local girl who has been missing since New Year’s Eve. Anna bears an eerie resemblance to Zoe, and her mere presence in town stirs up still-raw feelings about the unsolved case. As Anna delves deeper into the mystery, stepping further and further into Zoe’s life, she becomes increasingly convinced that she and Zoe are connected—and that she knows what happened to her.

Two months later, Zoe’s body is found in a nearby lake, and Anna is charged with manslaughter. But Anna’s confession is riddled with holes, and Martina Green, teen host of the Missing Zoe podcast, isn’t satisfied. Did Anna really kill Zoe? And if not, can Martina’s podcast uncover the truth?

Inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, Kit Frick weaves a thrilling story of psychological suspense that twists and turns until the final page.

I Killed Zoe Spanos, Kit Frick
July 1, 2020

“A shivery delight.” People (A Best Book of Summer 2020 selection) 

“Sure to be the YA thriller of the summer.” —Bustle 

“This atmospheric and delicious contemporary gothic tale… captures the compulsive listenability of a true-crime podcast.” BCCB, STARRED REVIEW 

“Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca heads to the Hamptons in this gloriously twisty, unreliably narrated thriller about a girl named Anna whose confusing memories lead her to confess to a murder it’s becoming increasingly clear she did not commit.” Buzzfeed 

“Strong heroines and an intriguing flip of whodunnit tropes will keep readers engaged to the surprising resolution.” —School Library Journal 

“An atmospheric and creepy page-turner.” —Kirkus “A gripping … and tightly wound exploration of the price of secrets.” —Booklist

TRANSCRIPT OF MISSING ZOE

EPISODE ONE: SHE’S (NOT) A LITTLE RUNAWAY

[ELECTRONIC BACKGROUND MUSIC]

ADULT MALE VOICE: It’s not illegal to disappear.

YOUNG FEMALE VOICE: If Zoe was there, I would have known. Zoe never showed up that night.

ADULT FEMALE VOICE: Nine-one-one, what’s your emergency?

SECOND ADULT MALE VOICE: My name is George Spanos, and my daughter Zoe is missing.

[END BACKGROUND MUSIC]

MARTINA GREEN: Today is Tuesday, February eleventh, and Zoe Spanos has been missing for six weeks to the day. Last Friday, the Herron Mills Village PD declared Zoe a runaway, and that’s why I’m here, talking to you. Because if you know Zoe, you know she didn’t run away.

Zoe Spanos is missing. And we’re missing Zoe.

[MISSING ZOE INSTRUMENTAL THEME]

MARTINA GREEN: Hi, I’m Martina Green, and you’re listening to the first episode of Missing Zoe, a multipart podcast series about the disappearance of Zoe Spanos, a nineteen-year-old resident of Herron Mills, New York, on the night of December thirty-first or morning of January first this year.

You can probably tell from my voice that I’m not your typical true crime podcast host. I’m a junior at Jefferson High School in Herron Mills. That’s on the East End of Long Island, one of those quaint beach towns you might visit one summer for the ocean, the lobster rolls, the relaxed pace of village life. For many, Herron Mills is a destination, an escape. But for others, like Zoe and me, it’s home.

Let’s begin by taking a quick stroll through Herron Mills. Consider this your welcome tour.

ALFRED HARVEY: You might notice there’s been a bit of a commercial boom around here lately. [CHUCKLES.]

MARTINA GREEN: There’s no greater expert on the textured history of Zoe’s hometown than village historian Alfred Harvey. We spoke in his office at the Herron Mills Village Historical Society.

ALFRED HARVEY: But it retains rich elements of its agrarian past in the surrounding farmland and the farm-to-table restaurants that have cropped up. And of course the windmills.

MARTINA GREEN: And there’s a long-standing artistic history as well?

ALFRED HARVEY: Of course. The village was initially settled in the sixteen hundreds and incorporated in 1873. Artists and writers began to flock to the Hamptons, including Herron Mills, in the late nineteenth century. They came for the quiet, the rural beauty, the light. The culture of creation is part of the fabric of the landscape out here. Nowadays, when people hear “the Hamptons,” they hear wealth, celebrity, privilege. But that’s only part of the story. On the bay side, in Sag Harbor, there’s been a thriving African American community since World War Two. The Shinnecock Reservation in Southampton is home to between six and seven hundred tribal members. There’s much more to the Hamptons than exclusivity and wealth.

MARTINA GREEN: When you’re a resident of Herron Mills, you know everyone. I’ve known Zoe since I was a baby; her sister Aster is my best friend. I’m telling you this in the interest of full disclosure. I’m not an unbiased reporter, an outsider looking in. I’m not someone with a twenty-year career in journalism behind me, although I hope I will be someday. But I don’t think that’s what we need to find Zoe. I think we need an insider. Someone who knows this community, knows the people, isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions the police don’t seem interested in exploring.

ASSISTANT DETECTIVE PHILIP MASSEY: It’s not illegal to disappear.

MARTINA GREEN: I spoke to Assistant Detective Philip Massey, one of the officers on the Zoe Spanos case, over the phone.

AD MASSEY: I can’t comment specifically on the Spanos case, but in general, you’re an adult, it’s perfectly legal to leave your life behind. Start a new one. Might be hurtful or unkind, but there’s no law you have to tell anyone where you’re going.

MARTINA GREEN: Why can’t you discuss Zoe specifically? Didn’t your office close the investigation last week?

AD MASSEY: As our office stated publicly last Friday, there is strong evidence to suggest Miss Spanos willingly left Herron Mills on the night of December thirty-first last year. That’s all I can say. It’s still an open investigation.

MARTINA GREEN: The investigation may still technically remain open, but it’s clear that local police have wound down their search. Yes, Zoe is nineteen. Yes, that means she’s an adult in the eyes of law enforcement, allowed to step willingly away from her sophomore year at Brown, from her holiday at home with her family and friends, and start over somewhere new. No note. No explanation. No news, six weeks later.

But I don’t buy it, and that’s why I’m here. I’m angry, and that’s why I’m here.

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Check back July 16th, 2020, for our podcast interview with author Kit Frick.

An Interview with Cady Hammer Booked All Night

  1. An Interview with Cady Hammer
  2. An Interview with Somaiya Daud
  3. The Henna Wars

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A podcast & blog about the young adult books that keep us up all night.

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