(2 of 2)
If Susie's breezy, wisecracking voice sounds eerily familiar, that's because it could belong to a Martha Moxley or a Chandra Levy or a JonBenet Ramsey or any of the other little girls lost whose faces haunt billboards and photocopied flyers and whose stories we play and replay obsessively on the 6 o'clock news. "Murder had a blood red door," Susie tells us, "on the other side of which was everything unimaginable to everyone." In The Lovely Bones, Sebold takes us behind that red door; she imagines the unimaginable and in doing so reminds us that those missing girls aren't just tabloid icons or martyred innocents but real human beings who chewed gum and kissed boys and suffered and died. "Horror on Earth is real and it is every day," Susie tells us. "It is like a flower or like the sun; it cannot be contained."