Published by Harper on January 26th 2016
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In this breakout standalone novel of suspense in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on a Train, a woman agrees to help an old boyfriend who has been framed for murder—but begins to suspect that she is the one being manipulated.
Twenty years ago she ruined his life. Now she has the chance to save it.
Widower Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene ever since the shooting of his wife Molly by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago. An early morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman in last night’s party dress, barefoot, enjoying a champagne picnic alone, reading his favorite novel. Everything about her reminds him of what he used to have with Molly. Eager to help Jack find love again, his best friend posts a message on a popular website after he mentions the encounter. Days later, that same beautiful stranger responds and invites Jack to meet her in person at the waterfront. That’s when Jack’s world falls apart.
Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers. When she hears that her former fiancé, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide—and that one of the victims was connected to his wife’s murder—there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is who would go to such great lengths to frame him—and why?
For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, to absolve herself of guilt from a tragic decision, a secret she has held for twenty years. But as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him?
I suppose I should be calling this a DNF review. However, I did, technically, finish the book. But only by skipping through huge chunks of the story…just so I could see the answers to all the mysteries and questions presented in this book.
I think my main problem with this book was the characters. I couldn’t connect with any of them. Most notably the main character, our narrator. I just couldn’t find anything that made me want to know more about her. Maybe she had some redemption in the book that I missed, but it was taking her too long for my liking to get there. The rest of the characters felt like a whole host of clichés: the straightforward, harsh best friend, the father-figure lawyer, the more mature for her age teenage daughter, and, of course, the guy who’s too caring to do any wrong yet has been repeatedly dealt a bad hand. I guess I just didn’t believe any of them fully. There wasn’t anything that had me rooting for any of the characters.
Of course, this book did have one element that kept me intrigued: the mystery. Who’s the killer? Is someone being framed? Is someone lying? I had to know. The crime, and in particular its details, were unique and thought-provoking, but, ultimately, it just wasn’t enough to keep me hooked to every page. So I committed the ultimate sin and skipped to the end, which was satisfying enough and not so shocking that I felt I had to go back and read what I had missed. Overall, this book had a great concept with a less than stellar execution.