Eric Walker doesn’t want to relive the day in 1994 when he walked “deep into the woods” in Oklahoma wielding a knife. Yet the memory comes in “white flashes of fear.” He hears Sam, his stepsister, sobbing, sees the “gushing blood.” Many of their wounds have healed, but scars remain. Until 2009, when the police find Sam’s stepfather’s white Chevy pickup submerged in a pond. Eric and Sam’s shared secrets and their dark childhoods are slowly laid bare. Eric “fit the narrative of the troubled son” and Sam wants to save him. “Walking Through Needles” is an astonishing debut that openly explores sexual violence and its legacies on a woman’s body and her mind. Levy’s novel is a gripping, disturbing read, and, perhaps for some, triggering, but I couldn’t turn away.
Polis Books, $26 (June 29)