I do not bake or cook, so I wouldn’t know much about the slow cooking techniques, but I have watched a lot of cookery shows. Based on that, I can say that this book is a slow simmer where all the ingredients (characters) in the pot are cooked (built-up) slowly over time, so that the flavor of each ingredient (characteristics, nature) is felt both separately and in toto.
Each character has her own individual personality and also they gel together as a group, even if they don’t seem to know each other that well. Such is the aroma of the book by Jessica Strawser. The suspense and mystery is felt like the elusive spice, whose flavor lifts up the book and that you feel you should guess but are unable to.
The book was a slow start for me, I generally like those fast thrillers, but as I stuck on, read further, I realized there is something captivating about the whole neighborhood. 6 ladies from the same neighborhood, with houses across the street and after a backyard party, one disappears with the kids. The story rolls into play then. The why, the how, the when, the guilt, the worry, the sadness all mix together to form a nice gumbo. (not really sure if gumbo works, never cooked it. But I liked the sound of it)
Jessica Strawser has this different style of writing where till the very end, I was left wondering about the mystery. Though the author left clues as separate chapters in italics, written by an unknown character (I assumed it was the missing woman), I couldn’t really guess the ending. And I didn’t want to, also. I just wanted to savor the aroma and the flavor and reach the end.
The only niggle, I could think of, is I wanted the book to read faster. But that is all me and my choices, the book works beautifully as it is too.
A gentle neighborhood mystery with a missing woman and its aftereffects, where each character is developed slowly over time, where their back stories are revealed as the book progresses, with an atmosphere of mystery and gentle suspense running in the background is what this book promises.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and publisher St. Martin’s Press, and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.
My rating : 4 stars
About the Author
By day, Jessica Strawser is editor-at-large for Writer’s Digest magazine, North America’s leading publication for aspiring and working writers since 1920. By night, she is a fiction writer of two novels: ALMOST MISSED YOU and NOT THAT I COULD TELL (publishing in the UK in April 2018). And by the minute, she is a proud wife and mom to two super sweet and super young kids in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Drinks in hand, a group of neighbourhood women gather around a fire pit to enjoy a rare child-less Saturday night. Giddy with freedom, they drink too much, share secrets they wish, perhaps, they hadn’t, and enjoy getting to know each other better.
The single newcomer. The imperfect mom. The new-born parents. The military wife. The almost divorcee.
Come Monday morning, one of them is gone.
As a police investigation launches, the women will band together and ask whether they should have noticed that something was amiss. But how well can you really know your neighbours, when appearances can be so deceiving?
Publication date : 27th March, 2018
Publisher : St. Martin’s Press
Language : English
Available on Amazon
Entertaining neighbourhood mystery