Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Book Review: Lie Still by Julia Heaberlin


From Goodreads:
When Emily Page and her husband move from Manhattan to the wealthy enclave of Clairmont, Texas, she hopes she can finally escape her haunted past—and outrun the nameless stalker who has been taunting her for years. Pregnant with her first child, Emily just wants to start over. But as she is drawn into a nest of secretive Texas women—and into the unnerving company of their queen, Caroline Warwick—Emily finds that acceptance is a very dangerous game.

It isn’t long before Caroline mysteriously disappears and Emily is facing a rash of anonymous threats. Are they linked to the missing Caroline? Or to Emily’s terrifying encounter in college, years earlier? As the dark truth about Caroline emerges, Emily realizes that some secrets are impossible to hide—and that whoever came for Caroline is now coming for her.
Before I actually review this book (which I loved), I have to point out the elephant in the room: could this cover be trying any harder to look like Gone Girl?


Black cover, blowing blonde hair, crazy similar red sans serif typeface, even the blurbs look similar.  I get it.  And honestly, I probably would have passed this one right on by if it HADN'T looked so much like Gone Girl.  Content-wise, I'd never compare the two, but it worked out well for them in my case, since I picked it up in a random library browse-by of new books.

Writing
 In terms of literary merit, we're not looking at a Gone Girl.  I was actually pleased to see that despite the cover similarities, the publisher avoided making those comparisons in their jacket copy.  It's a thriller, but the similarities end there.

For one thing, we have largely likable protagonists.  I really enjoyed the experience of rooting for Emily and her husband and coming to appreciate some of the initially less-likable characters.  We've also got villains we can love to hate, who are deliciously creepy, and who pose a genuine, immediate threat to our protagonists - all things that I look for in thrillers.

My only complaint is that the ending was a bit rushed and wrapped up quite neatly.  I wasn't "thrilled" with the outcome, but I was somewhat surprised by it, which is always a plus in a thriller.  This is certainly genre fiction, but it was genre fiction that delivered exactly what I'm looking for in a thriller.

Entertainment Value
As above, when I'm reading a thriller, I'm looking for suspense - in particular, I'm looking for an immediate threat faced by the protagonist and a villain who creeps me out.  I want to be on the edge of my seat wondering what will happen next, and I particularly enjoy not really knowing who the real villain is.  This book delivers on all of those fronts.  I loved the "mean girls grown up" aspect of the book as well.  It kept me guessing and had me worried about the characters and anxiously turning pages.

Overall
I recommend it for those who love thrillers and domestic suspense.  I thoroughly enjoyed my read of it and I think it's a great choice for fans of the genre.

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