ARC was provided through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!
CW: child sexual abuse, molestation, murder, infidelity, and mentions of child pornography
To be honest with all of you (and, yes, I can hear you screaming “Caidyn! When aren’t you honest???”), I wasn’t entirely sure I would like this. Mysteries tend to be a bit conventional to me. All the books being published sound so alike, which makes it hard for me, as a reader, to tell them apart and to get down into the story. So, I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it. I was fully prepared to give it the whole 15% trick — if it’s not caught me by then, it’s time to put it down — but I found myself reading half the book in one afternoon.
The book follows Natalie and Will, married lawyers with one son, Charlie. (On Goodreads, the son’s name is listed as Jacob, but he’s Charlie in the book.) The marriage is a bit tense — it feels like Will is drifting away. Then, it comes out that Charlie’s principal has been accused of molesting a student there. Then, Charlie says it happened to him, too.
And Natalie, being a criminal defense lawyer, decides to take it into her own hands.
For knowing what would happen, this was a tense read. I think I like that about the newer crop of mysteries that are coming out, such as Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall. The reader goes into it knowing what the rough outcome is, but it’s more about getting to that point. And I like that. It’s my thing.
The story gets into some mystery tropes that can be overdone, but the real emphasis was on Natalie. There are two parts to the book, one told by Natalie and the other by Will, but Natalie is the star of the whole thing. She was chilling, yet entirely relatable. I might not have kids, but I know I’d feel the same way. I’d want that person dead because, like Natalie, I understand how the defense team will tear apart a kid’s defense if there’s a shred of doubt.
In other words, this was an excellent book. I wish it had all been from Natalie’s perspective — Will, well, was weak and dull; entirely predictable — because she is one badass woman. I wouldn’t want to cross her. And the ending? Ugh, what a cliffhanger.
Another word on the ending, though. The stuff before the epilogue shocked me (in a good way!) but I also feel that it wrapped it up a bit too neatly, all while leaving it open for another book. Then, the ending ending (does that make sense?) was too predictable.
Really, the book was great. I have minor issues, but I was still sucked into the story and want to own a finished copy of this.
Is this one on your TBR?
What’s your favorite recently released mystery?