Monday, May 30, 2016
In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she's the person Quinn thought she knew.
Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.
As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under the stranger's spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end. -- Mira
I was extremely excited to pick up DON'T YOU CRY by Mary Kubica. I had read her first book, THE GOOD GIRL, and liked it a lot -- you can read my review here. I was expecting a well-written psychological thriller, especially given the reviews I've seen; and I did like it. I just didn't love it as much as THE GOOD GIRL and other thrillers that I've read recently.
DON'T YOU CRY actually tells two stories in dual narratives. The first is that of Quinn Collins, a woman living in Chicago with her roommate Esther. One morning, Esther's alarm clock goes off and Quinn discovers that she is missing. She didn't take her phone and the only sign is that the window to the fire escape is open. Quinn suspects something is wrong and notifies the police, but she also begins trying to figure out things on her own. She realizes that something was definitely up when she finds that Esther was looking for a new roommate, had their locks changed, and even changed her name. She becomes even more upset when she realizes that Esther's last roommate died under very mysterious circumstances!
Meanwhile, Alex Gallo lives in a small harbor town near Chicago and has recently graduated from high school. All of his friends have moved on, but Alex is stuck home taking care of his alcoholic father. Alex works as a dishwasher and helps the town recluse with her weekly chores. His life isn't all that exciting until he notices a mysterious (and beautiful) woman moving about town. He develops an interest (not quite an obsession but close!) in her that forces him to discover some very surprising and very dark secrets!
I liked DON'T YOU CRY... quite a bit, in fact, but I didn't actually love the story or a few of the characters. The novel was definitely intriguing, and I did appreciate how the two separate stories came together at the end; however, it didn't have the shocking ending like I thought it would. I don't want to make it sound like the story was predictable, because it most definitely wasn't. I just thought the ending would be MAJOR, and the twists were less surprising than the buildup.
Putting all that aside (and really it would have been because I had unfair expectations), I found the writing in DON'T YOU CRY to be very good. Once again, I found Ms. Kubica's prose and storytelling skills to be very strong, and I do think she's a major player in literary mysteries. I appreciated her character development, and I certainly liked how complex both Quinn and Alex were. Alex's situation just broke my heart, and I found myself not only feeling sorry for him but rooting for him.
I found Quinn, on the other hand, to be a little disturbing in her own right. I wasn't quite sure what to make of her and maybe that's why I had a little difficulty in liking her. I found her to be an unreliable narrator, or at the very least a questionable one; and I honestly wasn't sure if she was "good" or "bad." Not surprising, she wasn't the only character that I felt that way about. So in that way, I guess you could say the book kept me guessing.
I was excited to find that DON'T YOU CRY has a reading guide because I do think it would make for a good book club discussion. Because the characters are so complex, I do think there is quite a deal to discuss. There is a reading guide with ten questions which will help stimulate discussion. Warning: They do contain spoilers. Some things you might want to discuss include the setting, the secondary characters' purpose in the story, and who was the hero versus who was the villain. In addition, you might want to explore the themes of friendship, alcoholism, grief, revenge, and family.
Overall, DON'T YOU CRY is a worthwhile read that is well written and suspenseful. Recommended to fans of Ms Kubica's and readers who enjoy literary suspense novels.
Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.
Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.