A very twisted 4.5 stars for this truly diabolical psychological thriller! Wow, as I finish this book my head is still spinning from all the twists and turns in this one. Staying up all night finishing this one may have been a good thing, because it is so unsettling I would hate to have dreams about it.
Dr. Shelby Cooper seems to have it all. She is a brilliant, successful research scientist with a degree from Duke, married to the CFO of a prominent company, soon to become CEO. They have two wonderful children doing well in prestigious private schools, a very nice house, and even an adorable dog to round out the American dream. And then the dream starts to become a nightmare, a nightmare that grows even beyond what her teenage daughter would call epic proportions.
Of course, all families have a few skeletons in their closets, no matter how perfect the facade may be. We find out that Shelby’s husband has had an affair, leading her to file for divorce, until she has a devastating motorcycle accident requiring months of intensive physical therapy. Though she and her husband have reconciled, somewhere through the course of therapy she finds herself having an affair with her physical therapist who has a very troubled marriage himself. Though she has ended the affair months prior, she agrees to help him flee the country with his daughters to escape his abusive wife. Around this time she begins to get very disturbing messages from a stalker, but she sends them off, or so she thinks until she finds herself stopped by the police on the freeway and has an uneasy feeling about it. When they mention a broken taillight, and demand she open her trunk, her world begins to fall apart when his body is found inside. A call from her stalker warning her not to post bail for risk of her children’s lives, leads to her arrest for murder and much too much time in jail, with a slow unraveling of many secrets, abuses and betrayals from her past.
I have read many psychological thrillers, a great number of them much gorier and more sadistic than this, but few with a more twisted bottom line. If at any point you think you have this one all figured out, you probably don’t. There are some hints here and there that may make you suspect certain people play certain roles, and then there is a complete 180 once again. The story is told from multiple points of view, only adding to the confusion and suspense. As layers of the past unravel, of both Shelby and her husband, there are red, blue and purple herrings, all with their own interesting twists. You may want some Dramamine as you go along, but you sure are not going to want to put it down.
At the heart of the book is the lengths a woman will go through to protect her children and her family, and the long lasting effects of a mistake made as a teenager can have. The characters may be flawed, but most are very human as well. This is definitely an author to watch; she has a gift for the truly twisted.
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