Bad Marriages | Fiction Reviews, January 2017

Stevens, Chevy. Never Let You Go. St. Martin’s. Mar. 2017. 416p. ISBN 9781250034564. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250034571. F

never-let-you-goIn Steven’s sixth novel (after Those Girls), we meet Lindsey, a woman who has escaped an abusive husband and created a settled and safe life with her teenage daughter, Sophie. The story of the disintegration of Lindsey’s marriage to Andrew, told in flashbacks, explains her need to be independent and her fierce protection of Sophie. When Andrew reappears after a long imprisonment, disturbing things begin to happen to ­Lindsey. Sophie, who is curious about her father, makes contact with him, and they began to meet secretly. The tension escalates as Lindsey struggles to regain control of her life and escape from the subtle terror that colors her every move. Friends, boyfriends, and a concerned police officer become involved as the danger escalates. The story is told in the alternating voices of Lindsey and Sophie, allowing readers to understand both characters more fully. The Pacific Northwest small-town setting contributes to the sense of looming disaster as it is continually beset with fog, rain, and snow. Verdict Disturbing, suspenseful, and just a little nerve-wracking, this fast-paced psychological thriller will keep fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl on edge. [See Prepub Alert, 9/26/16.]—Terry Lucas, Shelter Island P.L., NY

Strawser, Jessica. Almost Missed You. St. Martin’s. Mar. 2017. 320p. ISBN 9781250107602. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250107626. F

almost-missed-you“All the wrong people know all the wrong secrets here” says one character in Strawser’s debut, knitting parental abduction with a page-turner of devastating secrets unraveling among friends and spouses. Violet’s blessed life goes haywire when husband Finn takes their toddler son, Bear, and abandons her during a beach vacation. Finn draws friend Caitlin into his breakaway from his wife by threatening to expose her marital secrets if she doesn’t hide him in the family cabin in Kentucky. But to help a desperate Finn is to betray a grieving mother. Torn between obligations of motherhood and friendship, Caitlin accedes to Finn’s demands while strategizing a plan to return Bear to his mother. Alternating time lines and narrators first raise—and then answer— questions in a story than has more twists and turns than the roads in the Blue Ridge Mountains. VERDICT Fans of smart women’s fiction mixed with a fast-paced plot should not miss this startling first novel from the editorial director of Writer’s Digest Magazine. [See Prepub Alert, 10/3/16.]—Wendy W. Paige, Shelby Cty. P.L., Morristown, IN

This article was published in Library Journal's January 1, 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.