Helllllllo readers, hope you’re well. I’ve got some superrrr exciting books for you this week – the first thing I need to do is apologise because I was asked to read and review this book forever ago and I read it and then the review kind of got stashed in my ‘must-post-on-the-internet’ pile. But here we are, on the internet and with a super brilliant review (hopefully) sooooo, enjoy.
Over the years, terrible things keep happening to Anna Ray on February 17. First, there was the childhood trauma she’s never been able to speak about. Then, to her horror, her husband killed himself on that date.
A year later and a thousand miles away, Anna tries to find solace in the fresh start of a new job in a new place. She takes comfort in her outspoken cousin Jeannie, the confidant and best friend who’s there whenever she needs help. On the day of the dreaded anniversary, Anna and Jeannie hit the town, planning to ease the pain with an alcohol-induced stupor and then sleep…
When Anna awakes the next morning, she thinks she can put one more February 17 behind her, but fate is about to intervene in the form of two gruesome murders with eerie similarities to her violent past. This time, however, she won’t be an abandoned daughter or a grieving widow. This time, she’ll be a suspect.
So the book follows the life of Anna Shuler Rayler who is a 29 year old school counselor who when she goes to work on February 18th finds that the school she works at is surrounded by police, detectives, and the whole college is covered in crime tape. Finding that a colleague of her’s has been brutally murdered, Ellis Trachtenberg, just the day before. A day of hell for Anna that she thought would forever be forgotten and yet now, a year later she is rising to the top of a suspect list. As it becomes more and more apparent that Anna needs to find out what happened and clear her name her past that she has worked hard to keep locked away is coming close to being revealed to all.
So what did I think? I thought that the characters were really well built; I kept swapping between Anna and Jeannie and how I felt about both of them. At times I really struggled with Anna and then I would swap back to Jeannie and it definitely kept me completely consumed with the plot and what was going to happen. I thought the writing was a little slow to start off with, but after a chapter or so it definitely started to move forward – the writing had real suspense, the swapping from past to present worked incredibly well and I thought the big showdown towards the end (#nospoilers) was reallllly great. I thought the author was also brilliant at creating a really descriptive landscape to hold the book together.
I really liked the continuous swapping between the crime and also what was happening in terms of the life of Anna; we see her struggling to contain her past and using drink as a way of coping and this leads to a really interesting understanding of the main character. The author works had to contain all of these sub-plots together at once and overall I think it worked really well. There is an interesting concept worked in around some letters – I think this could have been developed more – I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone but it did leave me wanting more in terms of their involvement in the book.
The only wobbles were that I thought that there were a lot of unnecessary details and when a book is kind of short it took away from the rest of the plot-line and made the movement of the book a little sluggish. I thought more suspects could have been easily incorporated to make it a little more exciting and add a little more suspense. I also found, and don’t hate me, that being inside the head of Anna for a little while became a little tiresome; she is an addict, she does exhibit a typical addict behavior but over time it does become a little tiring. The only final wobble was a cliffhanger ending – I just wish more of the loose ends had been tied up but that’s a smaller issue for me.
Overall I would definitely recommend this – I think if you’re a reader that likes thriller books that have a family feel to them and mix that into the suspense this will be brilliant read for you and also, if you like thrillers that have NO ROMANCE, this will definitely be one for you. A solid read with a few wobbles but a book I really enjoyed.