General Rating: Need a can’t-put-down read? I read this in a few days. Get past the first chapters, and you won’t be able to put it down. It gets better and better.
Skip factor: 0% I skipped not a word.
Who should read: Readers who don’t mind multiple characters. Mothers and grandmothers.
Summary: The story opens at a birthday party for two-year-old twins, Lucy and George. All of the major characters are in attendance. The twins’ mother, Cora, finds someone has left the diary of her babysitter, Mira, on her bed during the party. The diary has one entry, and it is about Cora’s husband, Sam.
While Cora delves into the truth of the entry, the story turns to Mira’s parents, neighbors Laurel & Dash, who have a secret of their own. A bedroom secret—Dash is more than a little rough during love-making.
Switch to Jade & Jeremy. Jade’s best friend Maggie (Cora’s sister) was killed in an automobile accident. Jade is now close with Cora and Maggie’s mother, Sarah. Jeremy is the hunk of a guy whom every woman at the party secretly watches. Both Jade and Jeremy hide secrets, too.
As if those storylines aren’t enough, the day after the birthday party, Mira disappears.
Characters: As in many beginnings, it was hard to keep the characters straight. Here’s a key to help readers keep the main three couples straight:
Cora & Sam
Kids Lucy & George
Sarah is Cora’s mom. Her dad, Clark, is remarried to Abby.
Laurel and Dash
Kids Anna & Mira
Jade & Jeremy
No kids. Jade was best friends with Maggie. Jeremy is hot.
The characters in the order I liked them:
Cora is a woman who is content being a mother of twins. She misses her sister Maggie who died in a car accident. You can’t help but feel for her.
Jade is a quiet, kind woman who also misses Maggie. She’s married to the good-looking Jeremy, whom right off the bat you feel doesn’t deserve her.
Laurel is a fast-moving, busy woman who hides her bruises to the world—and herself.
Sarah is Cora’s mother. A divorced sixty-something who, understandably, immerses herself in Cora’s life after her daughter Maggie is killed in a car crash.
Mira is the babysitter who disappears. She comes on strong but as the story unfolds, you feel less disdain for her.
Storyline: An excellent, complicated-yet-believable story with dark twists and turns to keep you paging through. The author skillfully thrusts the lives of, at-first, seemingly normal families into chaotic suspense that grabs your attention and won’t let go. Sise unfolds the complexity of the characters so slowly that the read seems effortless and easy.
Writing: Excellent. The perfect combination of dialogue and description. The story flows smoothly, and while the storyline is complex, the writing is flawless. Loved.
Read this author again? Yes, yes, yes. I’ll read anything Sise writes from here on out. Especially her suspense novels.
CJ Zahner is the author of The Suicide Gene, a psychological thriller, Dream Wide Awake, and Project Dream, two thrillers that carry a sixth-sense paranormal element, and Friends Who Move Couches, women’s fiction. These last two novels were inspired by Zahner’s own experiences. See the video of her own paranormal experience, a premonition of 9/11 here. Download her Beyond Reality Radio podcast here. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, BookBub, or LinkedIn. Purchase her books on Amazon.