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It’s the summer of 1988 in northeastern Kansas, an area home to four prisons that has been shaken by the recent escape of a convict. But for two young brothers in Leavenworth, the only thing that matters is the pool in their apartment complex. Their mother forbids the boys to swim alone, but she’s always at work trying to make ends meet after splitting with their police-officer father. With no one home to supervise, the boys decide to break the rules.
While blissfully practicing their cannonballs and dives, they meet Chris, a mysterious stranger who promises an escape from their broken-home blues. As the older brother and Chris grow closer, the wary younger brother desperately tries to keep his best friend from slipping away.
Beautifully atmospheric and psychologically suspenseful, Cote Smith’s Hurt People will hold you in its grip to the very last page, reminding us that when we’re not paying attention, we often hurt the ones we claim to love the most.