Plain spoken 16-year-old Sue Ellen and her buddy, the handsome and sensitive Terry, find out that their mutual friend, May Lynn, has been murdered—in fact, drowned in the Sabine River that runs by the small Texas town where they live. It was always May Lynn’s dream to escape the confines of their town and run off to Hollywood. One that she’ll never realize now.
Along with her good friend Jinx, Sue Ellen joins Terry in a plan to dig up May Lynn, burn her to ashes, stick her in a can, and make off down the river with money May Lynn’s no-good and now-dead brother stole. And Sue Ellen’s mom, who’s been abused by her husband for years and surviving on nothing but laudanum dreams, comes along for the ride. May Lynn’s death is mighty mysterious, but dead is dead and the sheriff is crooked, anyway.
But life on the river isn’t all peaches and cream, especially when you’ve got stolen money that others want to get their hands on—and they send the meanest guy after you they can rustle up, a fellow named Skunk, who’s so scary people doubt his very existence.
If Mark Twain had written Huckleberry Finn as a thriller with a twist of the paranormal and a female protagonist, Edge of Dark Water might have been the result. Through the adventures of the three friends and Sue Ellen’s mother, this genre-defying tale explores the difficult lessons of growing up, no matter what age you are.