American Gabby McSween, formerly a Canadian gymnastics champion, is a devoted circus artist who loves to help young kids reach their potential through trapeze, stilts, unicycling, and clowning. But everything changes on a day in 2017 when she’s driving her van to collect her kids from school and the radio reports the story of a psychopath doctor killing a young gymnast. The news triggers Gabby to blank out and the van she is driving strikes down a little girl.
Although the little girl survives, Gabby knows the story doesn’t end there. What if she blanks out again and accidentally kills someone? After seeking medical help, she secures a label for her blanking out symptoms, and recognises it was triggered by a shameful remembrance of a similar murder three decades ago. Police had appealed for anyone with information on the brutal murder of an ex-gymnast to come forward. Gabby’s information – contained within the intimate pages of her childhood diary – would have given police a fresh suspect: the gymnastics team doctor. But she’d refused to take her diary to police, fearing they might use it as a weapon against her.
Despite it being 2017, nearly three decades after the murder, the crime remains unsolved. Now Gabby has an opportunity to redeem herself and show police the diary. Travelling back to Montreal, she recovers her diary and shows police, only to have them tell her that the evidence is a long way from compelling. It’s not until Gabby faces up to a raw and devastating truth about another parental figure in her life that she realises she’s been targeting the wrong man. Now she must chase after a man who was like a second father to her, armed with nothing more than a clapped-out getaway car, a shabby training bag and a Netherland dwarf black rabbit.
The Trophy Room is based on personal experiences working with detectives to track down a perpetrator. With its alternating historical and contemporary narratives, it is like Sari Wilson’s Girl Through Glassand for its examination of elite-level gymnastics culture it is reminiscent of Megan Abbott’s You Will Know Me.