Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Never Ask Me

Never Ask Me by Jeff Abbott
Grand Central Publishing: 7/14/20
review copy; 368 pages

Never Ask Me by Jeff Abbott is a highly recommended domestic thriller.

The quiet, wealthy Austin suburb of Lakehaven is shaken when Danielle Roberts is found murdered, her body left on a park bench. Danielle was an adoption consultant who had helped a number of community members adopt a child. Iris and Kyle Pollitt and their teenage children, Julia and Grant, live just two houses down from Danielle and are shocked. Danielle helped them adopt Grant from a St. Petersburg orphanage when he was a baby. Danielle's son, Ned, and Julia are good friends and they are the ones who found Danielle's body. At the same time, Grant is contacted through email and someone appears to be watching him while telling him he has been told a lie.

After a strong start with Danielle's murder, finding the body, the Pollitt family's reaction, and Grant's anonymous contact, the novel slows down to a leisurely pace until the last third. Then, that last portion of the plot takes a weird twist that will grab your attention, but it will also leave you saying "what the heck?" The narrative unfolds through the point-of-view of the members of the Pollitt family along with excerpts from the adoption journal Iris kept when they were working with Danielle trying to adopt Grant. There are a whole lot of secrets everyone is keeping from everyone else. The characters are well-developed, although with all the secrets everyone is hiding it does take a while to establish exactly who these people are and what they are hiding from each other as well as others.

The weirdly-twisted ending makes Never Ask Me suddenly very tense, action packed, and exciting and it does provide closure to the various plot threads and secrets everyone has been keeping from each other. Everything is in some way tied back to Iris's statement, "Never ask me what I'd do to protect my family." 3.5 rounded up.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Grand Central Publishing.

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