This is one of those twisty, adrenaline-filled thrillers that once you start you literally can't stop. What an impressive debut.
Main character: ★★★★★
If you witnessed a violent moment between a man and woman at the side of the road while in your car, what would you do? Would you get out? Would you call the police?
Cassie Larkin gets out of her car. She's coming home late from her shift at the vet office when she sees a battered woman being chased by a man with a knife on the side of a deserted highway. After a tense confrontation, the attacker tells Cassie something strange.
"Your life is a mess. You just don't know it yet. Let her die, and I'll let you live."
Then he flees the scene in Cassie's van—which contains her wallet, ID, and personal information. Cassie doesn't abandon the victim, and the woman survives. But now the clock is ticking, and Cassie knows that a potential killer knows her address. Knows about her husband. Knows about her kids.
The very next day, her husband is taken.
What follows is one of the most intense, pacing-driven thrillers that I have read in a long time. Cassie's propulsive drive to find her husband and solve the mystery of the killer's interest in her and her family was so entertaining, so nerve-wracking, and filled with all of the hard decisions that make you stop and check yourself: would I do that? would I make that jump? would I make that call? would I trust in the police, or would I do it myself?
Cassie was the main reason that I loved this story. She is a woman full of flaws and filled with a sense of unworthiness when it comes to her husband and her kids. With that cocktail blend of past guilt and fierce maternal love, her focus on the trail of the murderer goes from 0 to 100 real fast. (I was so here for it). In addition to her drive to find the truth, the reveals as to why Cassie, and why her family, become increasingly clear. In case you're wondering whether this falls closer to A-B-C thriller or twisted mystery, I'll say that the reveals and mystery were definitely a main portion of the story, and boy was I shocked by that ending. It's crazy, but it fits the story. Loved it.
Can't wait for Heather Chavez's next thriller.
Thank you so much to William Morrow for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.