Saturday, September 19, 2020

Don't Look for Me

Don't Look for Me by Wendy Walker
9/15/20; 352 pages
St. Martin's Publishing Group

Don't Look for Me by Wendy Walker is a very highly recommended psychological thriller

During a raging storm Molly Clarke's car is found abandoned with her phone inside. A note is found at a nearby hotel. The authorities are calling it a walk away - just a woman who left her family and life to start over somewhere else. And, as it is has been five years since Annie, her youngest daughter, died, she had reasons to leave her life behind. But the night Molly disappeared her car needed gas, the gas station was closed due to the storm, so she started walking toward the nearest town. When a man and his daughter offered Molly a ride to town, she was grateful to accept his offer. Once inside the car, when the doors locked, Molly realizes that she made a terrible mistake.

Molly's twenty-one-year-old daughter, Nicole, is still looking for her mom and returns to the small town where she disappeared two weeks earlier when a woman calls with new information. It seems that everyone is helpful, until Nicole starts to uncover secrets, like another woman who disappeared, and connections in the town.

The chapters alternate between the point-of-view of Molly and Nicole. Molly's perspective informs us where she is and what is happening to her. She has to be resourceful and clever to survive her predicament as she tries to understand why she was chosen and what is expected of her. We understand that she is full of guilt and she and her family is still mourning Annie's death. Molly's chapters tell the backstory. Nicole's chapters follow her search for the truth. She knows her relationship with her mom has been contentious and full of tension, but she has never shared all the reasons why she feels that way.

This is an absolutely compelling, twisty psychological thriller. Yes, it is a nail-biter that will keep you up all night, with a plot that will adroitly play with all your emotions, but it is also a nuanced psychological portrait of a family in mourning that is suddenly faced with another crisis and an examination of a complex mother/daughter relationship. The characters are well-developed and portrayed as flawed individuals struggling with their own dilemmas and the side of the situation they are experiencing. There are suspects but you likely won't guess exactly what is going on until the end. The clues were there, but so cleverly woven into the plot that the final denouement will absolutely shock you.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of St. Martin's Publishing Group.

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