eBook review copy; 352 pages
The Fallout by Tamar Cohen is a highly recommended psychological thriller about divorce, discord, and friendship.
Josh and Hannah's best friends are Dan and Sasha; even their 4 year old daughters, Lily and September, are best friends. They have all become accustom to spending time together, so when Dan announces to Josh that he is planning to leave Sasha for a much younger 24 year-old model, all allegiances are strained to the breaking point. Sasha is suddenly relying on Hannah and taking it for granted that she will support her and stand by her - no matter how disconcerting her behavior becomes. And Dan expects Josh to support his choice too.
Sasha becomes more bitter and retaliatory, pulling Hannah's loyalties along in her wake, while Dan complains to Josh about Sasha's actions. Soon the divorce is affecting Josh and Hannah's relationship, as well as their daughters. Josh also has some personal problems going on at work that he is reluctant to share with Hannah. To add even more stress, they are experiencing financial strains that aren't helped by Sasha's smothering, ultra-needy dependence on Hannah. Soon, it starts to look like their friend's divorce is going to destroy their marriage.
Previously published in the U.K. as The Broken, this is a tension filled dark novel. Cohen ratchet's up the tension by interspersing between chapter's italicized commentary from a young girl who is clearly disturbed and exhibiting signs of a multiple personality. You don't know which female character she could be and won't know until a twist at the very end. The only issue for me is that I had to suspend disbelief that Hannah wouldn't have set up some boundaries as Sasha became increasingly parasitical, out-of-control, and malicious. Oh, and Dan's initial thought that the divorce would all be amicable was laughable.
Cohen handles the details of the narrative in this well-traveled subject matter deftly and adds the extra jolt at the end, which elevates the novel above an ordinary family drama about divorce. The plot moves along quickly as more and more details are added and you will find yourself compulsively reading to see what happens next. While the characters are developed, there are no truly likeable characters in this novel - they are all broken people - but Cohen adds little hints and details in the plot that pull you along to keep reading, if only to find out who the girl is in the italicized sections.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Mira for review purposes.