Top critical review
2.0 out of 5 starsStruggling to finish it, may not (Update: Did)
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on February 16, 2019
I’d like to thank Netgal .... just kidding! I bought it myself. There are still a few of us who do that, although the numbers seem to be dwindling.
I’m halfway through and not sure if I’ll finish it. My “Unputdownable psychological thriller with a breathtaking twist!” bingo card is filling up:
1. Missing kid: Check
2. Parents with secrets: Check
3. Flashbacks to trauma suffered when younger: Check
4. Spouse finding money/cheating texts/etc hidden by other spouse: Check
5. B*tchy mother-in-law: Check
6. Sweet, gentle father-in-law: Check
7. (Minor) German character named Klaus: Check (Klaus? Seriously?)
I could continue but don’t want to give too much away. I guess I need to take a break from the “Unputdownable” thrillers — I’m so sick of that ridiculous, trite term, btw — they’re all starting to sound exactly the same. If I never read another missing kid plot, I’ll be fine. (Yes, I knew from the blurb it was about such, so that’s on me, and I’m not taking away because of it.)
I’m also finding the dialogue to be very stilted and choppy. Nothing flows in a natural way, nothing feels authentic, it’s very flat and one-dimensional. I think a lot of authors come up with the plot first, then try to mold the cardboard character cut-outs around it, which brings up my next point .....
Modern day books in the psychological thriller catagory are reminding me more and more of Harlequin romance novels and bro-country songs. Same tired formula, just change the cover art and names.
If I manage to finish it, I’ll update. Bottom line is that I pre-ordered this and am very disappointed. I’m giving three stars, because I haven’t finished and maybe there’s a chance it gets better. Otherwise, what I’ve read so far is two stars. I think I’m going to stop pre-ordering books in this genre and wait a few weeks to buy one, so I can see more reviews by readers outside of the Cult of Netgalley and authors/bloggers s*ck up festivals on Twitter. Remember when books stood on their own merit, and not on saturating/flooding social media, giving out free books, etc ... hashtag amitheonlypersonactuallypayingforbooks ?
Sorry, I digress ...
Update: I finished it. It got worse.
Cliches left and right, outlandish “twists”, only one character I liked and had any sympathy for, rushed ending, etc. The storyline got more and more unbelievable and I honestly kept going just to see how silly it would get.
K.L. can do SO much better than this. I’m worried that she’s being held hostage, forced to write Unputdownable! formulaic drivel, and needs us to rescue her. Hey! That might actually be a good fiction plot .... popular author gone missing instead of someone’s kid. And fans rescue said author from awful people who kidnapped her because she made them mad this one time decades ago.
Anyway, changing three stars to two.