Not That I Could Tell - Jessica Strawser

May 6, 2018

4 / 5 Stars


A slow-burning examination of secrets, friends and violence.

Well! This book wasn't what I expected at all. Judging by the title and the front cover, I was anticipating a classic crime / thriller type tome, with plenty of twists and intrigue. Instead, I found myself reading a far more subtle, slow-paced book - which focused on a different sort of violence - one that all too frequently happens behind closed doors and without detection. 

The ladies of Yellow Springs awake after having had one too many drinks the night before, to discover that Kristen, the doctor's wife, has gone missing. Her children are also gone, and Paul, her husband, seems devastated. 

Naturally, the women of the neighbourhood start talking. Is Kristen dead? Has she run away for some reason? What's behind it all? Izzy, who is still in recovery over her sister's relationship with the man she loved, gets a little too close to Paul, and that's when things start to spiral into dangerous territories...

I appreciated the author's slower pace - it makes a nice change to read a novel that isn't hell-bent on racing to the denouement at the cost of the story itself. I also liked that it wasn't your classic tale of violence done against a woman. There are rather too many stories like that for my liking, and without giving too much away, I liked the conclusion of this book - it finished on an upbeat note. 

I also think the characters were very authentically conveyed. The 'real life' moments all felt very relateable, reminding the reader that this situation could occur anywhere at any time. 

If there was one criticism I had, it would be that the pacing was, in parts, a little too slow. This is the thing with books where not much happens; it's a difficult trick to keep the reader hooked throughout. However, for the most part I was into it - particularly the final third section. 

If you're looking for a book that makes a nice change from the usual suspense / crime novel, this may well be right up your street.

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