Plot: A quiet neighborhood. A lovely home. A promising new beginning. In a heartbeat everything can change in this propulsive novel of suspense by USA Today bestselling author Kaira Rouda.
Julie Jones has left her suffocating marriage. With her teenage daughter, Jess, she’s starting over. Their new house in Oceanside is the first step toward a new life. Even if it does come with the unexpected. The previous owners, a pastor and his wife, have left something—or rather someone—behind…
Tom Dean has a bitter hatred for the father who considers him a lost cause, and for the woman who’s moved into their family’s house. The only home he’s ever known. He’s never going to leave. She thinks he’ll be gone in three days, but Tom has the perfect plan.
For a newly single mother and her daughter, a fresh start is the beginning of a nightmare. Before the weekend is over, somebody is going to get exactly what they deserve.
Reviews: The first Kaira Rouda book I ever read was Best Day Ever. It was excellent. The entire book is narrated in the first person by Paul, an absolute narcistic asshole who has…plans for his wife on their weekend away. It’s a fast, compulsive read where you are firmly settled in Paul’s weaselly little head, eager for him to face his downfall when all his plans hopefully go wrong. I know it’s weird to say a book is fun when you are supposed to loathe the narrator but it’s true!
Rouda has published two other books since then. I keep reading them hoping to recapture the magic, but so far no dice. I will say this one is better then the follow up to Best Day Ever. All the books are in the domestic thriller genre. It feels like in this one she was trying to recapture the Best Day Ever magic. There are three villainous men in this book, and each feels like Rouda took an aspect of Paul and assigned it out. A lot of the characters are not at ALL sympathetic, and knowing Rouda this is by design. The book is certainly interesting. But it lacks the sheer fun of Best Day Ever. I have this problem whenever I read Rouda. I always just end up wanting to reread Best Day Ever.
This book has three women and three men. Two of the women are suffering wives, one at the hands of a physically abusive philanderer, one at the hands of a wealthy control freak. One is a teen daughter, spoiled and caught up in a straight-from-the-headlines scandal, unaware of the dangers of flirting with the incel/nazi next door (man #3). I feel like Rouda was trying to make a statement about the rise of nazis among young men in America, and she sort of does it? I guess?
At the end of the day, as I type this review, I yet again have Best Day Ever queued up on my audible to listen to yet again. That basically says it all.