Monday, November 4, 2019

The Empty Nest

The Empty Nest by Sue Watson
Bookouture: 11/1/19
eBook review copy; 290 pages
ISBN-13: 9781838880422 

The Empty Nest by Sue Watson is a recommended psychological thriller.

Kat is very close to her only child, Amy, so when Amy leaves for a university hours away, Kat struggles and lives daily for any contact Amy has with her. When Amy doesn't arrive home for the long weekend as she had said she would, Kat panics and is sure something is wrong, especially when Amy doesn't contact her and doesn't reply to calls or texts. Her friend Zoe tries to support her, as does her husband, Richard, but Kat is inconsolable and wants to check out Amy's room at the university and contact the police to investigate her disappearance.

Kat is a mother who is over-the-top obsessed with her daughter to an unhealthy degree and it is extremely difficult to relate to her. Extremely. It is also difficult to understand Amy who apparently texts her mother several times a day. (I am very close to my adult daughter, but this relationship seems off and unhealthy - even for an only child heading off to college.) I tried to set aside the oddness of their extremely close relationship and understand Kat's certainty that something was wrong with Amy and they needed to look for her immediately. When it eventually became clear that something was wrong, the story actually became more intriguing.

The writing is good, but it would have helped to get to the intrigue sooner, as once the complications, rumors, and suspects are added, the novel became much more interesting. I can't say there were any shocking surprises, but at least it moved beyond Kat's constant mantra that something was wrong with Amy. I'm not sure that it needs to be said, but there really isn't a likeable character in sight in The Empty Nest; Kat is especially annoying. The one thing that saved the novel was the ending twists, which you may see coming, but it was still a satisfying ending.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Bookouture.

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