NATALIE is beautiful, newly qualified as a clinical psychologist and recently married to the perfect man. But her charmed life is torn apart when her husband disappears. Can she discover what happened to him? And can she keep her own dark secret hidden while doing so?
Telling a story from the viewpoint of a child or teenager can be tricky. No matter how old we may be, those memories of the joys, sorrows and drama of our teenage years—when we were simultaneously our best and worst selves—still linger in each of us. Capturing that turmoil and angst with honesty and integrity is a huge challenge. On the other hand, if an author can pull it off, the results can be deeply moving and emotionally gripping. Gregg Dunnett not only pulled it off, he wrapped it all in a slowly building wave of tension with just enough complexity to keep readers guessing for the entire ride.
While the story moves along at a fairly slow pace—which isn’t normally to my liking—my attention rarely wavered thanks to regular shifts to wholly separate storylines. There was also a fair amount of time jumping early on to provide a bit of backstory. In hindsight, some of it feels unnecessary but certainly not enough to sour my overall enjoyment.
Probably my favorite aspect of the book was its ability to keep me guessing. I’m usually pretty good at figuring out the general outlines of a plot but this story veered down a few unexpected paths I didn’t see coming. I also enjoyed the depth and insight into Jesse’s thoughts as the primary narrator telling the story after the fact and leaving small hints about events yet to come.
My only real issue with this book is the handling of the twist at the end. No worries, I’m not going to give anything away. I just feel it would have been more satisfying if it’d been handled differently. I even had an email conversation with the author who admitted that he’d gone back and forth on the best way to handle the final twist before finally settling on the one he chose. It’s entirely possible other people may be fine with it. Unfortunately for me, it caused me to end an otherwise enjoyable read on a down note.
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