Photo via Workman Publishing

“Where the Crawdads Sing,” written by Delia Owens, was released in 2018 and gained instant popularity.  It has a glorious mix of murder mystery, romance and drama. Owens spun the tale in a way that makes for a most compelling read that will have you staying up all night to finish. 

The story follows Kya Clark, a young girl growing up below the poverty line in the marshes of North Carolina. She lives in a tiny shack along with her four siblings and her parents and her life is far from easy. Her father verbally and physically abuses the family and leads to her mother walking out and never coming back. The rest of her siblings follow their mother’s suit shortly after by leaving and don’t look back, except for Kya. 

The book follows Kya’s upbringing in the marsh. Kya is an outcast from the town of Barkley Cove, North Carolina. She does not attend school and instead digs mussels at early hours of the morning so she can sell them to feed herself. It is a heartfelt tale of a girl who experiences many misfortunes but the marsh is always there for her, no matter what. 

The events of the book also follows a murder mystery that the police are trying to solve. Kya happens to find herself as the key suspect because the victim is the town’s golden boy, Chase, who used to sneak off to the marshes to see Kya. Being the outcast she is, the town immediately points fingers at her and the story switches timelines to show the gradual relationship form between Chase and Kya and ultimately illustrates how he came to his untimely demise. There is a shocking plot twist at the very end that is delightfully unexpected but so satisfying. 

In the wake of this book’s popularity and the plot twist murder mystery questions have been raised and fingers have been pointed at Owens herself. People started to do some digging and found out that she is an extreme conservationist and does first-hand work to stop poaching in Africa alongside her husband Mark Owens. Her time particularly in Zambia’s North Luangwa National Park has drawn the interest of curious folks because there was a televised killing of a potential poacher. 

Owens and her husband were called in for questioning regarding their involvement. They were involved in anti-poaching missions that were suspected to have ended poachers’ lives, potentially including the one that was televised. 

The couple have since settled the case and moved to Idaho. Did they actually have something to do with the death of poachers in Africa during their time as conservationists? Did they actually get away with murder? The world may never know for sure, but, one thing is for certain, “Where the Crawdads Sing” has now taken on a more chilling undertone than ever before.

The story has also been adapted into a movie, so interested viewers can choose to follow Kya’s story on the big screen. What is certain is that “Where the Crawdads Sing” is a worthwhile read that challenges the reader’s view on many issues.