Just Fall by Nina Sadowsky
Ellie has had a difficult childhood due to the death of her older sister from leukemia when Ellie was a teenager. She finds it difficult to sustain relationships and is dumped by her college sweetheart on the night of their graduation. Later she learns she was cast off because the guy was bisexual–a rather ego–deflating event for a beautiful woman. Ellie moves to New York, gets a good job, and stumbles into another relationship that ends badly.
Just as she is about to give up on men she meets Rob, who is handsome, witty, and everything a woman could want except for his unwillingness to discuss his background and apparently has no family. Their first date is sweetly romantic. At the end of the evening, as Rob walks Ellie home she decides that despite the intense attraction she feels, she is not going to sleep with him yet. Ellie tells him when they reach her apartment that she is not going to invite him up. Rob responds that he hadn’t planned on asking. Ellie is deflated until Rob asks, “Can I see you tomorrow?”
The next night, sparks fly like Independence Day. Eventually they marry. Still Ellie wonders why she still has never found out much about Rob.
The author reveals Rob came from an abusive home where his natural mother allowed her second husband to beat her in front of Rob. Having finally had enough of witnessing this violence, Rob murders his own stepfather and goes on the run. He eventually finds employment as a hired assassin. While Sadowsky makes sure all the people Rob kills deserve it, eventually Ellie learns the true occupation of her husband. When Ellie is then required to become a hit-woman, the book lurches to the final denoument .
The ending is perhaps a little unsatisfying and I won’t spoil the book by telling you what happened. Nevertheless Sadowsky does an expert job of weaving chapters between the past and present which keeps you turning pages, creating a spell-binding narrative.
What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan
Rachel is a recently divorced woman. Her doctor-husband left her for a younger model. She has primary custody of her son, Ben, who is 8. Ben attends a nice private school and seems like a delightful child.
One Sunday evening they go for a walk. Rachel lets Ben run ahead through the woods to a swing, in a clearing, that they have played on before. Unfortunately, when Rachel reaches the clearing there is no Ben. His dog is there and for some reason now has a broken leg.
The first two chapters, about the parents learning their child is truly missing and appears to have been abducted, are as riveting as anything I have ever read. Macmillan then takes us through the police investigation focusing on two of the officers, who have problems of their own, and have internalized the awful circumstances of the kidnaping. The police procedure portion is interesting but not as gripping as the chapters in Rachel’s or her ex-husband’s point of view.
A sub-plot deals with the awful nature of today’s media who camp outside Rachel’s home and write nasty stories implying that the abduction is Rachel’s fault. She must also deal with another modern phenomenon – the instant blog which immediately takes the position that Rachel was either negligent or is in fact the murderer of her son. Unfortunately, Rachel cannot pull herself away from this trash, only adding to her misery.
On a scale of 1-10 this book is a 10 if you like suspense that comes at an emotional cost of getting sucked in. I won’t tell you the outcome but I would highly recommend the book.
By the way, Kristen Kerry's second book is at the printer. Keep an eye out for Justice Is for the Deserving.
Steve E Clark, is an Author and Attorney at Clark+Mitchell, out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He is a New York Times best selling author of Justice Is for the Lonely and the second book of the Kristen Kerry Novels of Suspense series Justice Is for the Deserving. You can read more of Steve E Clark's reviews and blog about writing at KristenKerryNovelsOfSuspense.com