Monday, August 15, 2016
From her past, from her husband, and from her own secrets. When she turns up alone in the remote mining town of Blackmore asking about Shayna Fowles, the local girl who disappeared, everyone wants to know who Clare really is and what she’s hiding. As it turns out, she’s hiding a lot, including what ties her to Shayna in the first place. But everyone in this place is hiding something—from Jared, Shayna’s secretive ex-husband, to Charlie, the charming small-town drug pusher, to Derek, Shayna’s overly involved family doctor, to Louise and Wilfred, her distraught parents.
Did Shayna flee? Was she killed? Is it possible she’s still alive?
As Clare uncovers the mysteries around Shayna’s disappearance, she must confront her own demons, moving us deeper and deeper into the labyrinth of lies and making us question what it is she’s really running from. Twisting and electrifying, this is a get-under-your-skin thriller that will make you question what it means to lose yourself and find yourself in the most unlikely places. - Touchstone
I'm always on the lookout for a good thriller, and STILL MINE by Amy Stuart certainly sounded like it would be right up my alley. The book had already been released in Canada and hit the bestseller list immediately. I thought it had a lot of potential... and it was a good read; however, I wouldn't go so far as to say I loved it though.
STILL MINE tells the story of Clare, a mysterious woman on the run from her past. Clare travels to Blackmore, a small mining town where the inhabitants are immediately suspicious of her arrival. Clare begins digging into the disappearance of Shayna Fowles, a local woman who coincidentally also disappeared from her home. Clare and Shayna seem to have more than a few things in common.
But Clare isn't alone in her secretive nature. Many citizens of Blackmore seem to be hiding things including Jared, Shayna's ex, to Charlie, a man who sells drugs, to Derek, the town doctor, to Louise, Shayna's mom who is suffering from dementia, to Wilfred, Shayna's father. It seems like everyone in this small town is suspicious of each other.
Readers quickly learn that Clare has been sent to Blackmore by another mysterious man named Malcolm to look into Shayna's disappearance. Nothing is really what is seems in this town and questions begin to pile up for the reader including who is Clare, why is she running, who is Malcolm, is Shayna alive, and more!
I enjoyed STILL MINE quite a bit; however, I'm not sure it will go down as one of my favorite thrillers of the year. It had an interesting premise and I did find Clare to be an intriguing character; however, I just didn't love it. There is nothing inherently "wrong" with the novel, and I do think it was well-written. It just wasn't a book that will stay with me a long time... if that makes sense.
One thing that I appreciated about STILL MINE was the setting. I thought the author did a terrific job in bringing this small and depressed mining town to life. I could visualize and almost feel the despair in Blackmore. In addition, I thought Ms. Stuart created some very interesting (and shady) characters who resided in this town. Almost all of the main characters were very well drawn and I found myself constantly questioning who to trust.
And that brings me to my next point... Clare was a terrific character. I still don't know quite what to make of her, and in many ways, I thought she was an unreliable narrator. I think readers will have different feelings about Clare, and I will say that she did grow on me as the novel went on. In fact, I have a suspicion that readers might get the chance to learn more about Clare in a future novel!
I also think STILL MINE explored abuse in a very interesting light. There was definitely a recurring theme of addiction in the story starting with Clare's issues with drugs and continuing with Charlie's supplying of drugs to the townspeople. The book also delved into physical abuse. I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that I thought the portrayal of these subjects was handled very well and seemed to be very authentic; and I was impressed with how dark this novel was and how well it explored the darker side of human nature.
Finally, I appreciated how many twists there were in the story. There were many mysteries in the book; however, the two main ones were about Clare and Shayna. I honestly wasn't sure which way this novel was going to go concerning either one of these characters, and I had so many questions about the other characters that I finally stopped even trying to figure out the truth.
Overall, STILL MINE is a complex thriller that is certain to keep readers guessing. Recommended to fans of psychological thrillers.
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.