Title: Not That I Could Tell
Author: Jessica Strawser
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Buy This Book: Amazon/Audible (affiliate link)
When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.
By Monday morning, one of them is gone.
Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own.
As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.
This was a really enjoyable read. I think the best part for me was the way the characters are written. They are all relatable and complex, flawed in their own ways, but still likable and realistic. It felt like getting a real glimpse into someone else’s life; playing the role of a nosy neighbor, from the comfort of my own home. Even the interactions between the characters and their children were well written and, quite frankly, adorable at times.
“Mommy, you count to ten and I’ll go hide behind the curtains in the dining room. Ready, go!”
“Thomas, hide-and-seek only works if you don’t tell me where you’re going to hide. I’ll count and you pick a new place, okay?”
“But the curtains are a great hiding place!”
“But you just told me you’re going to be there. I already know”
“Okay. Close your eyes-no peeking! I will go hide now—and do not look behind the curtains.”
“Ready or not, here I come”
Maniacal giggling came from the dining room….
If you’re looking for a police procedural or fast-paced psychological thriller, you’re probably going to be disappointed. This book reads more like women’s fiction, following Kristin’s neighbors closely as they each cope (in their own ways) with the sudden disappearance of a friend and scrutiny from the police and public. However, there is still plenty of suspense, between trying to figure out what happened to Kristin and her twins and wondering whether her ex-husband was responsible or if there was something more sinister involved. You will even worry about whether the remaining characters are truly safe.
I would recommend this book as a vacation read or for someone looking for a suspense novel with a slightly slower pace. It didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat, but it did definitely hold my interest from start to finish.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.
Jessica Strawser is the Editor-at-Large for Writer’s Digest magazine, North America’s leading publication for aspiring and working writers since 1920. Her debut novel, ALMOST MISSED YOU (St. Martin’s Press), was a Barnes & Noble Best New Fiction Selection upon its March 2017 release, as well as a She Reads Book Club Selection and a PopSugar Best Spring Read. The book garnered accolades from such wide-ranging bestsellers as Chris Bohjalian, Adriana Trigiani, Lisa Scottoline, Jacquelyn Mitchard, and Garth Stein. Her second, NOT THAT I COULD TELL, is forthcoming from St. Martin’s in March 2018, and a third is under contract for 2019.
Her diverse career in the publishing industry spans more than 15 years and includes stints in book editing, marketing and public relations, and freelance writing and editing. A Pittsburgh native and “Outstanding Senior” graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, she counts her New York Times Modern Love essay and her Writer’s Digest cover interviews with such luminaries as Alice Walker, Anne Tyler and David Sedaris among her career highlights. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two children.
Author Links and Social Media:
Jessica blogs at the WritersDigest.com “There Are No Rules” blog and elsewhere, tweets @jessicastrawser, enjoys connecting at Facebook.com/jessicastrawserauthor, and speaks at writing conferences and events that are kind enough to invite her.
Visit jessicastrawser.com to learn more, read some of her work and sign up for her email list to receive occasional updates and hellos.