William Morrow (August, 2018)
Kindle edition: $13.99
by Shirley Wetzel
Andrea Oliver left her hometown of Belle Isle, Georgia, for the bright lights of New York City. After six years of failure, she packed up the remnants of a meager life and headed home. Her mother Laura had cancer, and she needed her daughter.
Three years later, Andy was still stuck in an aimless life, working as a 911 dispatcher and living in her mother’s garage apartment. She wished she were more like Laura, the perfect mother, the well-respected speech pathologist, always calm and confident. She was the kind of woman who always knew where all the tops were to her Tupperware.
In one horrifying moment, the mother she thought she knew became a complete stranger. While they were having lunch at a diner in the Mall of Belle Isle, a distraught young man came in and went on a shooting rampage. Laura confronted the gunman, and in a series of incredible moves took him out.
In the aftermath, Laura asked her traumatized daughter to trust her, and to keep her mouth shut about what had happened. That wasn’t too hard: she was stunned speechless. When the police detectives asked her if her mother had ever had military or martial arts training, she had no answers to give.
After another horrific encounter with a stranger who’d invaded their house, Laura gives Andy a package, a key, a cell phone and cryptic instructions for her to leave right away for Idaho. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, do not pack, do not call her father, just go.
The clues her mother gave lead her to a storage unit hundreds of miles away. What she found there convinces her that she never knew her mother at all. Was she a spy, a criminal on the run, a CIA agent? She retraced Laura’s steps back in time, following clues that took her to places she’d never seen before, yet somehow seemed familiar. People from her mother’s past show her, in ways both loving and lethal, that her whole childhood was a lie.
While Andy sought answers in the past, alternating chapters reveal the story of how Laura became the woman Andy calls Mother. Once a young woman of privilege and wealth, she took the wrong path for the right reasons, derailing all her plans for the future and sent her into hiding for three decades.
Karin Slaughter has written another thriller destined to be a best seller. The characters come alive on the page, the plot is intricately woven, with twists and turns that will have the reader’s head spinning, and the telling of the story from two directions, the past and the present, is masterfully done. Highly recommended.
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