About The Book
Title: Damnatio Memoriae
Author: Laura Giebfried
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Nothing ever happened at Bickerby. Located on an island off the coast of Maine, its prestige, remoteness, and near-inaccessibility in the winter months were the reasons that Enim Lund’s father sent him there in the first place. With only a year left of school until graduation, Enim’s only focus is to keep his grades high enough to scrape by and keep his unforgiving involvement in his mother’s critical accident secreted away. But when a body washes up on the school’s shore and a teacher vanishes without explanation, the thought of a quiet, uneventful year becomes unlikely – especially given that his best friend has planted himself in the middle of the crime. Worse than the thought of a killer loose on the island with them, though, is that the unfolding events are dredging up horrors in Enim’s past that, if uncovered, will result in his own misdeeds being found out.
As Enim is pulled further and further into crimes that he both has and hasn’t committed, he finds that his mind is slowly unraveling and his grip on reality is faltering, and unwanted comparisons are being drawn between his mother’s withering health and his own. Soon, discovering who the killer is becomes his only concern. Yet before long, it becomes clear that there’s an even more difficult task at hand than who’s responsible for the horrid crimes: getting anyone to believe him.
Laura Giebfried was born in Bangor, Maine in June of 1992. She is the youngest child of Joseph and Rosemary Giebfried, who moved to Maine from New York in order to raise their family. Giebfried currently lives in Bangor and attends the University of Maine where she is earning her degree in psychology.
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She died on a Friday, right in time to ruin the holiday plans for the students who had hoped to take the ferry to the mainland for the long weekend. The boys stood on the shore even still, watching as the police pulled the water-logged body from the ocean with mixtures of excitement and anticipation on their faces. Several more students joined the crowd once word got out, but by the time she had been zipped out of sight into a plastic-bag, Barker had gotten wind of the situation and sent someone down to chase them away. I watched them idly from the window of the residence building, the phone in my hand slipping down to my shoulder as I did so, until Karl’s sharp tone alerted me back to the conversation.
“It’s the third one this year, Enim,” he said. “You can’t keep failing exams, especially in the year before college. What would people think?”
“Right,” I said absently, still squinting to see the students whispering feverishly about what they had seen. “What would they think.”
“I know this comes down to Jack’s influence – there’s no other explanation. I rather thought that you would have reevaluated your friendship with him by now, especially given the trouble that he got you into last year.”
“You were very nearly expelled,” Karl went on without acknowledging the flatness in my tone. “Anyone else would have been. You’re lucky that Mr. Barker was compassionate enough to let you stay on –”
“I’m lucky that my father paid Barker off, you mean.”
I wrapped the phone cord around my fingers as I gave the blunt response, reveling in the sound of static as Karl struggled to respond. He would undoubtedly run his hands through his hair before smoothing it down again as he thought of a way to counter my claim, but even the image of him so frazzled in his neatly pressed suit and straight tie couldn’t lighten the mood brought on by his phone call.
“I – he – that’s not true, Enim. He didn’t pay the headmaster off.”
“He bought the lacrosse team another stadium,” I said. “They’re very pleased about it.”
“That was a completely separate event. He donated the money so that you could have a better lacrosse team.”
“I don’t play lacrosse. I don’t even go to the games. The only reason he wanted Bickerby to have a better sporting field was so that I could stay in school.”
“That’s not true, Enim. If anything, he did it in the hopes that you might start playing a sport – we all agree that it would be good for you.”
I rolled my eyes to the ceiling, grateful that he couldn’t see my expression. Despite the fact that he was a lawyer, he had never been a very good liar: Barker had only consented not to expel me in return for a signed check.
“So what do you think?” Jack asked me as I sat down.
“About the murder.”
“I think I’m going to murder someone if I don’t get some coffee soon.”
“Hopefully it’s Sanders or Wynne,” Jack said with a cackle. “But what about the dead girl? Who do you think killed her?”
The pounding in my skull was louder than his voice; I paused to press my head into my hands.
“How would I know?”
“You wouldn’t, I just wanted your best guess.”
“I don’t have a guess,” I told him. I hadn’t liked hearing about the girl in the first place and wanted no reason to talk about her more. “Why would you want to think about something like that?”
He shrugged and took a bite of his English muffin.
“I can’t help it, Nim – I love a good mystery.”
His eyes were alight and mischievous. I could almost see the conspiracies forming in his mind behind the dark irises, undoubtedly searching for alternatives to the mundane theory we had settled on just hours before.
“I know you do,” I said. “But check one out of the library – don’t go looking for them.”
“Like I’d ever go to the library,” he said. “But it does have me thinking ...”
“What?” I asked warily.
“We should go to the boathouse.”
“What? How do those two thoughts even go together?”
“Think about it, Nim: it’s the perfect time to break the rules.”
“How is it the perfect time? The police are swarming the place.”
“Hardly,” he said. “Did you see even one officer on campus this morning? They’ve all cleared out.”
“Only because Barker’s hoping that no one will know what’s going on,” I countered. “I bet they’ll be back tonight after we’re all in our rooms.”
“Alright, forget the police, Nim – it’ll be fun.”
Even his most earnest of expressions couldn’t convince me to sneak out to the boat house and steal one of the rowing boats again. We had done it a few times in the past, of course, to feed his insane idea that it was possible to row all the way to the mainland and escape Bickerby, but we had certainly never achieved the feat.
“Why not?” he pestered. “We haven’t done anything fun all semester.”
“We haven’t been in trouble all semester, either,” I said. “And I’d like to keep it that way.”
“Why? It’s not like we’ve ever gotten caught before. Besides, I hear Barker’s in the market for a new stadium to match that nice sporting field he had installed ...”
“Karl will kill me. Besides, it’s too cold to go out to the ocean. We’ll freeze to death.”
“Better than dying of boredom,” Jack muttered, but he let the idea drop all the same.