When Wren is pushed by her best friend to go on a few dates, she’s reluctant and doesn’t expect to meet anyone. But she does meet Adam, someone who she feels a strong connection to, and starts seeing seriously. When he suddenly, with barely a word, ghosts her, and then all his profiles disappear and his phone is disconnected, she can’t let it go. What happened? Then she meets someone else who also wants to know what happened: the investigator who is looking for a series of missing women who dated this guy…
I love the concepts behind books like these, thrillers or domestic thrillers, and this one initially doubles down on this with added little threads. We get flashbacks to other victims, we get little implications about Wren and her personal secrets, including her growing up in what seems to be a cult, and a we get hints of a mysterious friend of hers called Robin. It’s a lot of different idead, and I wanted to follow all of them into the labyrinth.
However, the book falters about halfway through. Firstly, it’s a little overlong, there are things that could have been cut out easily and it’s got about 50 chapters total. And secondly, it starts to lose it’s way and meander a little. It feels like the author had such a great idea but then wasn’t sure how to resolve it all, or how to make it something really twisty that we hadn’t heard before. There’s zero twist in the ending. It’s all pretty much a straight story. That said, I did like the authors overall style and tone, which worked well for the genre. I had a small problem with the narrating protagonist throwing me off sometimes: she has this odd way of suddenly addressing the reader as “you”, as though we are part of the story, but she’s actually talking in her mind to Adam. It’s such a small thing, really but it kept throwing me out of the story.
I’d say, on the whole, it’s not bad really, and I’d read something else by the author (I think I have read one of her previous books).
I had a copy of the ARC, sometimes there are changes made after that and before publication, so I won’t go into all the details about the little things the author got wrong, but, and I hate to say this, some of them made me laugh. The big one is….. The Dark Web (cue lightning flash and gasps). (If Google is the yellow pages, the dark web is the white pages, it’s mostly white papers and dull stuff, calm down) But there’s also basic misunderstandings about what a podcast is and how that works, what an influencer does and how much work that is, and also digital footprints, hiding your identity online while also being a public figure, instagram filters, social media… and PC’s. (Some of you may be amused by the main character confusing the screen, the computer and a CPU, it kind of tickled me).
So, I don’t want to be mean here, I’m not laughing at the author. We all don’t know stuff until we know it. And writing a book is damn hard. I just think maybe that’s why they say write what you know. The author is not the same generation as her protagonist, and it kinda shows. On the whole, not bad.
Read It If: Lisa Unger fans and people in the 45+ category who don’t know basic tech and social media, domestic thriller genre lovers, give this a try.
Thank you Harper Collins for the copy of this book for review.