Then She Was Gone






Rating: .5
Author: Lisa Jewell
Genres: Mystery
Read: Feb. 2018 (Pub date: Apr. 24, 2018 in North America)

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Lisa Jewell has been on my list of authors to try for a while now, so I was really excited to get an ARC of her new book, coming out this April. Then She Was Gone had me spellbound for pretty much an entire day. I think I read like 60% of this book in one sitting.

I actually quite like mystery/thrillers. I don’t read them all that much, but I do get really into them when I finally pick one up. The only thing is that I can get pretty disturbed by mystery novels and I definitely got disturbed by this one.

Then She Was Gone tells the story of Ellie Mack, who walked out the house one day when she was 15 years old and was never seen again. Her mother is obviously devastated by the loss of her daughter; her marriage falls apart, her relationship with her other 2 children suffers, and for 10 years, she struggles to find any kind of closure and is unable to move on. Until she meets Floyd Dunn and his daughter Poppy and finally begins to reawaken and believe she might be able to start to piece her life back together.

The format of this story is fascinating. It has 5 parts and a lot of different narrators. It is predominantly narrated by Laurel Mack, Ellie’s mother, but it does alternate to several other perspectives throughout the novel. Most notable for me was that it’s partially narrated by Ellie herself in the first part and we learn almost immediately who our main suspect for her disappearance is. I was so surprised that we learned this information so early in the story and I felt like the first part (~15%) was almost a book in itself.

From there, Laurel meets Floyd and is transported to an entirely new life. I found this part of the story a little boring, but Jewell still did a good job at keeping me intrigued because I still wanted to know what actually happened. This part mostly just felt a little in contrast with the first part of the novel, which has a super strong start. It only took 1 chapter for me to get totally into this story.

It is a little predictable what happens, but it’s so freaking weird that when I was guessing at what might have happened I was like, “surely not” and tried to dismiss my prediction. Parts of the novel are definitely very disturbing and Jewell does create subtle atmospheric changes to her writing as the novel progresses. I actually really liked the end of this book. While I predicted some parts, the end did surprise me and while parts of it are heartbreaking, I appreciated Jewell ending her story this way.

I liked Laurel’s transformation throughout the course of the novel. I was frustrated with her at times and I have to admit, I did find some of her actions a little unbelievable and not to be in line with her character.  Laurel lost her daughter and couldn’t move on for 10 years, so I found it really hard to suspend disbelief that she wouldn’t be incredibly suspicious of some of the weird coincidences of this book and that she didn’t always trust her instincts. Like I said though, this book had me totally spellbound and I would like to read some more of Jewell’s work!




Author: Krysten Ritter
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Read: Nov. 2017


You guys, this was my 100th book of 2017!!! Feeling so accomplished!!

I LOVE Krysten Ritter. I’m obsessed with her role as Jessica Jones and think the show/Krysten is just the most badass superhero ever! And her instagram account makes me love her even more. She likes to knit and read mystery novels and hang out with her dog Mikey. So I was pretty excited when I saw she was writing a novel (a legit novel too, not just another celebrity autobiography)!

Bonfire didn’t like blow me out of the water or anything, but I thought it was a pretty solid debut. The writing was pretty average, but I thought the story was interesting. Bonfire is about lawyer Abby Williams who left her hometown of Barrens at 18 after some pretty strange events took place and has been running from it ever since.

She returns to Barrens as an environmental lawyer to investigate claims that Optimal, a chemical plant that provides most of the jobs in the community, has been poisoning the water supply and that people have been starting to get sick. She hated Barrens as a teenager and is plagued by memories of her friend Kaycee, who made up a story in their senior year about being sick to exploit Optimal and then disappeared. But now that other people are starting to get sick, Abby wonders if maybe Kaycee was actually telling the truth and can’t ditch the feeling that there’s something she’s missing.

I really liked the whole environmental law angle of the book and that this wasn’t just a who-dunnit murder mystery. The plot was a bit messy in some places though. Even after finishing the book, parts of the story were unclear to me and I found the ending pretty abrupt. I pictured Abby as Jessica Jones several times and I think Ritter was trying to write a gritty kind of lawyer-gone-detective character that I couldn’t quite get into. There were a few subplots that I didn’t really see the point of and some loose ends in the plot that I didn’t like.

Overall I did like this and I’m totally impressed with Ritter for writing it. There’s nothing particularly special about it, but I would definitely read another book if she ever decides to write one!

Killman Creek


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Author: Rachel Caine
Genres: Thriller, Horror, Mystery
Read: Dec. 2017


OMG, Why did I read this?? Stillhouse Lake was disturbing enough! I didn’t plan to read this one, but damn, I just had to know what was going to happen!

It’s pretty much impossible to review Killman Creek without spoilers for Stillhouse Lake since it ends on a huge cliffhanger, so if you haven’t read Stillhouse Lake yet, stop here. I won’t discuss any spoilers for Killman Creek though.

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

—– spoilers for Stillhouse Lake below—–

This book picks up right where the first one left off. Most of the criminals from the prison break have been caught, but of course Melvin Royal is still on the loose. Gwen decides to leave her kids behind with Javier and Kezia and go off with Sam in search of her ex-husband.

Killman Creek is such an emotional roller coaster. If you like thrillers, then this is the book for you, my heart was beating a mile a minute every time I picked up this book. I struggled with the first book in that I found it very graphically disturbing. This one was worse in that it was really emotionally disturbing on top of still being graphic.

I thought Lanny and Connor were basically going to be absent from this book, which I would have been okay with because I can’t deal with people who mess with kids and their story-line stressed me out so much. But they still had a large role in the book and both narrated sections of the story. This definitely made it a better novel and Caine explored a lot of interesting moral themes. We get more insight into Lanny and Connor’s experiences and the emotional struggles of having a serial killer for a father. Especially for Connor who was so young when his Dad was convicted and can only remember the good things about their relationship and really wants a father figure in his life.

This book is definitely a page-turner and once I started it I could not put it down or stop thinking about it. I’m giving it 4 stars because it really is a good book and Rachel Caine definitely made me feel things, but overall it’s just not the book for me. It reminds me a little of Behind Closed Doors, which I read last year, in that it’s a good book, it was just way too dark and disturbing. I’m surprised to see there is going to be a third book next year, but fortunately this one didn’t end on a cliffhanger, so this is where I will step out from this series.

The Last Place You Look

Author: Kristen Lepionka
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Read: July 2017


This was a pretty dark read, but The Last Place You Look had everything I look for in a good mystery novel. It had suspense, a compelling plot, and a great detective/PI. There were a lot of layers to this story, which kept it engaging throughout the entire novel. Once I got into it, I could not put this book down!

It’s a pretty straight forward detective novel. Private Investigator Roxane Weary is hired to look into the disappearance of teenager Sarah Cook, whose parents were murdered 15 years prior. Sarah hasn’t been seen since the night of her parents murder and her boyfriend Brad was convicted of the crimes and has been sitting on death row ever since. However, Brad’s sister is convinced of his innocence and hires Roxane when she sees a woman she believes to be Sarah Cook pumping gas at the local station. Roxane tries to track the woman down to see if there might be more to the story.

I really like a mystery where I’m just as invested in the personal life of the PI and I really liked Roxane Weary. She was facing her own struggles and made some questionable decisions, but not unbelievable ones. Roxane was smart, as was Lepionka’s writing. She did some great things with this novel and I thought it had some great social commentary on how women are ignored, belittled, and dismissed by law enforcement. The Belmont police frustrated me so much in this book and I have to give an author props when they can make me empathize with a character as much as I did with Roxane. It infuriated me the way the police kept dismissing missing women as runaways with mental health issues, although it sadly didn’t surprise me.

I’m excited to see this listed as “Roxane Weary #1”, I’d definitely be interested to continue this as a series!

In a Dark, Dark Wood

Author: Ruth Ware
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Read: June 2017


This was my second Ruth Ware book. There are definitely better mystery/thriller novels out there, but I did really enjoy both In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10. They both drew me in right from the start, were fairly fast paced, easy to read, and intriguing.

In a Dark, Dark Wood is set in, you guessed it, a cabin in the woods. Nora is really surprised when her childhood best friend Clare invites her to a weekend hen party at her cottage. Nora and Clare haven’t talked in years, but she reluctantly agrees to attend, curious about why Clare has decided to contact her after so many years. The party has an odd assortment of guests and as the night progresses, strange things start happening, leading Nora to suspect they may not be the only ones there.

In a Dark, Dark Wood is Ware’s first novel and I do think she honed her skill a bit better in The Woman in Cabin 10, which I preferred. In a Dark, Dark Wood did not really deliver what I thought I was getting from the synopsis. I was expecting a creepy thriller that was going to keep me up a night, a lighter version of Mark Edwards Follow You Home, which had the creepiest atmosphere. This might be an unfair comparison as Follow You Home falls in the Horror genre, but In a Dark, Dark Wood was neither creepy nor scary. I still enjoyed the story, but the book jacket and the name are both pretty misleading.

I found both Ware’s novels engaging and fast paced, but I did think the pacing was a little off for both plots. I thought that the climax of both novels came at about the 2/3 mark, which felt a bit early to me and make the last third feel like it was dragging. I found the plot of this book to be pretty predictable, but was improved in The Woman in Cabin 10.

So overall, not my favourite mystery/thriller, but I do enjoy Ware’s novels and plan to read her new novel, The Lying Game.