Top positive review
Ok, I liked it but there are a bunch of discrepancies..
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on July 7, 2022
I am on a thriller kick & am devouring them. Freida McFadden has become a favorite author but there is a little hit or miss in some of her novels. First, the writing in this novel is done well & while it’s not peppered with language or sex, the violence might be a little rougher than what you’d want your grandma to read. Wait, I’m a grandma & had no problem with it, so if you aren’t offended by a little blood, then no matter. It’s a decently written, clean book with a bit of a preposterous storyline.
Why do authors have someone remember miniscule details years & years later that become key pieces of information in the present? I’ve had trauma & I can tell you; your mind doesn’t recall every detail correctly. Why else does someone remember the same event or perceive it differently than someone else who lived it with you? Why does what I said to my neighbor get twisted around & he thinks I said something totally off the mark from what I actually said? It’s a natural occurrence that’s colored by our perceptions of what’s happened. But it has to be this way for a lot of authors to tie up loose ends when the character recalls an event a decade later.
Ms. McFadden is really good about tying up all of the loose ends. In this novel, it does require Brooke, our main girl, to suddenly put part of the puzzle together that she couldn’t so clearly see while it was happening or in any other recollection or reasoning she did throughout the years. Ok, I can overlook that because it’s such an important part to create a satisfying end in this novel.
But, tying them up in this novel requires allowing oneself to believe something is true when realistically, it’s far-fetched. It doesn’t change the fact that I continued to read & finish the novel in record time. It was enjoyable but I was disappointed in a couple of key points. Since I can’t seem to stop myself from explaining my reasoning at this point, I will warn that there are a few spoilers coming.
First, the conclusion tossed out several possibilities that Brooke was considering. Could her ex-boyfriend be in cahoots with her childhood best friend who has just become her current lover? Could they have killed three of her friends together? Well, nah…that really doesn’t make sense.
Next, what motivates someone to commit these hideous murders, including murdering your best friend?
His mom had an affair with Brooke’s dad who went back to his wife. She’s mad so plots this thing a decade later where she has her son pretend to be in love with Brooke so she can be murdered to get back at Brooke’s dad.
Now if Shane was her half-brother, that might make a little more sense. He could justifiably be mad that Brooke’s dad dumped him & his mom. But realistically, how does killing Brooke become a revenge thing? No, dear old mom would go after Brooke’s mother & then her son might be convinced to help her.
Jeez, if you're determined to kill Brooke, “accidentally” run over her with your car, go on a picnic & chase her off a cliff or make her choke on a chicken bone, drown her in the pool, fall out of a tree, trip on the bleachers. There are lots of ways that could get the job done without sacrificing a bunch of your friends.
Next, Shane’s mom is a real piece of work. Logically, would any medical facility take the word of one dissatisfied customer who calls up & complains that this complete stranger is going to be applying for work so don’t hire her? Unsubstantiated, unidentified info. Makes zero sense because it wouldn’t happen. Social media has opened everyone’s eyes to crackpots writing bad reviews just to complain.
Then unsubstantiated stories that a medical employee at the prison was dealing drugs. So, where’s the proof? That person wouldn’t now be in prison herself for it because one person said it. They do thorough investigations on allegations & anyone who works in a prison know that the prisoners aren't there because they have stellar reputations & tell the truth.
Brooke wouldn’t be hired at the prison, either. She hasn’t changed her name & this was a crime that rocked a small town. So, no one would remember her? Also, they don’t skip doing a background check at any facility like a prison no matter how desperate they are for medical staff.
Fingerprinting, background checks, references, investigating every aspect of a potential hire’s life have to take place first.
How could Shane’s mom overcome young, strong people like her son’s best friend & get him outside to then kill him? How could she rig it that Brooke’s parents would die in a car accident? What makes her think that would convince Brooke to move back home when she wouldn’t show her face there for ten years? Why would she assume Brooke would move into her parent's house instead of selling it, taking the money & moving somewhere else.
There are even more discrepancies that require police, lawyers, judges & juries to all work without evidence. Ok, I get it that this punches all sorts of holes in the storyline & there wouldn’t be a book written if all of that had to be spelled out.
But these are holes in the story that made it hard for me to say anything more than, “oh yeah, like that’d ever happen.” Wow, now I wonder why I ever continued to read this novel. Guess that points to Ms. McFadden’s skill at weaving an interesting story.