Book Review: Something She’s Not Telling Us by Darcey Bell

Something She’s Not Telling Us
by
Darcey Bell

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Here’s a domestic thriller about a woman who kidnaps her boyfriend’s niece and the family’s mad race to rescue the girl before something bad happens.

Charlotte, her husband, Eli and their six-year-old daughter, Daisy have just returned from a trip to Mexico. The family, including Charlotte’s younger brother, Rocco and his new girlfriend, Ruth, had flown from New York to celebrate Charlotte and Rocco’s mother’s sixtieth birthday.

The next morning, Charlotte, Eli and Daisy scramble to get ready for work and school. At the end of the day, Charlotte rushes from an important meeting to pick up Daisy at school. When she arrives, the teachers tell her that Daisy’s Aunt Ruth has already picked her up.

The story then flashes back six months earlier when Ruth first meets the family.

To Ruth and the reader, Charlotte and Eli seem to have it all. A swank co-op in the East Village, great careers, plenty of money and an adorable daughter. They’re the balanced ones, but Rocco, a recovering alcoholic, can’t find the right partner. Now, Charlotte and Eli are hopeful, but cautious when he introduces them to Ruth. She’s young, hip and friendly, but something seems off, especially the way she latches on to Daisy. While Eli is laid-back, Charlotte, a helicopter mom with anxiety, thinks Ruth is just a little too aggressive.

In alternating chapters between past and present, the author provides readers with a closer look at Charlotte, her marriage, her anxiety and a strained relationship with her mother. Other chapters are about Ruth and her point of view. Later chapters include Rocco’s take on the situation.

It’s clear that there’s something up with Ruth, but readers soon learn that Charlotte also has a secret. The question then becomes who is the “she” in Something She’s Not Telling Us? I thought that was a clever twist of the title.

I enjoyed this very fast read which kept me wondering what was up with Ruth and what was Charlotte’s secret. I prefer not to guess too much about what’s happening when I read, and several late big reveals make it the kind of story that allows you to do that.

That said, the finish was pretty flat, with many unresolved questions. Without revealing details, I was left wondering how Ruth managed many of the details of her life. In addition, although Charlotte’s secret is a game-changer, it seemed that when she would have to reveal it, that everything would be okay.

This one falls into the category of books that are fast, entertaining and somewhat mindless reads, a nice distraction from everyday life, great for the beach or for traveling, but nothing that will stay with you too long. I picked it as part of the first segment of my Read, React, Decide videos on YouTube in which I read random sentences from books I’ve grabbed at the library and decide which to read. You can watch it here.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Book Review: The Dry by Jane Harper

The Dry
by
Jane Harper

Federal Agent Aaron Falk left his home town of Kiewarra in Victoria, Australia, twenty years ago, right after Ellie Deacon died in the river. Now another of Falk’s childhood friends, Luke Hadler and his family, are dead. Despite the friendship, Falk would rather stay in Melbourne, but when he receives a letter from Luke’s father, he knows he must go back. Gerry Hadler’s words are unsettling: “Luke lied. You lied. Be at the funeral.”

Falk dreads returning to a town that chased him and his father away years ago, all because of an alibi that no one believed. Since then, lies and secrets have crippled the small farming town and a two-year drought has made everyone desperate. Falk wants to get in for the funeral and get out as soon as he can, but at the service, a chilling picture rotates through the slide show. Luke, Falk, Ellie and Gretchen Schoner, a tight teenage foursome and now only two are left. Is there a connection between Ellie’s death and the Hadler murders?

When Luke’s parents ask him to look into the murders, Falk reluctantly agrees. Headed by Kiewarra’s new Sergeant Raco, Falk and Raco follow leads and suspicions as hostility against Falk grows. Nothing is at it seems, however, and Falk will have to dig to the raw core to understand, if he survives the process.

The Dry is a terrific atmospheric thriller in which Kiewarra’s setting on the edge of the bushland and the drought’s devastating effects weigh heavy on the characters. False leads, unclear motives and complex relationships make this story both an entertaining read and a more serious study of human behavior. Why do people keep secrets and what could have been different if the truth were told? Harper may not have the answer, but she shows how lies and secrets can crush.

I recommend The Dry to readers who enjoy mysteries and to anyone who is interested in human behavior. I’m looking forward to reading Harper’s next book, Force of Nature.


I read The Dry as part of my library’s Summer Reading
Challenge to “read a book set in a place you’d like to visit.”


Thanks for visiting – come back soon!