Before this novel, I had never heard of Tami Hoag. I had no idea that she was a bestselling author or that she had published more than 30 books. All I knew was that this novel was on many recommendation lists and that I had to make some time to read it. In all honesty, I hadn’t been anticipating it or been looking forward to it. I thought it would be a bit like some of Joy Fielding’s work (and I really do love her stuff!) so it wouldn’t be anything unexpected. All I can say is, I’m glad I gave it a shot!
Dana Nolan was a promising news reporter on TV before she was kidnapped, raped, and almost murdered by a serial killer. Nearly a year after her miraculous escape, Dana has moved back home to Shelby Mills. But the torment of post-traumatic stress disorder and the severe brain damage she endured has changed her forever. Returning to her hometown was supposed to be a reprieve; instead, it leads to more trauma as both the police and media take interest in an unresolved case – the disappearance of Dana’s childhood friend, Casey. Terrified of the secrets from her past, Dana tentatively begins to search for the truth. But it may be more than she can handle.
One of the reasons why I enjoyed this novel so much was because of the attention it gave to PTSD and head trauma injuries. Most of the time, novels don’t depict this accurately; somehow the victim or protagonist mysteriously “gets better” and “goes back to normal”. Having a novel disprove that and show what it really is like was quite refreshing. I really liked Dana Nolan; her plight as a victim was depicted very skillfully but there was also more to her personality than just her ordeal. The story line was very good, too, and I liked how the story was told in the voices of other characters. The ending was a bit predictable, especially as the clues came through but I think that was the point; the reader, who presumably does not suffer from any brain injuries, should be able to solve this case faster than Dana, who doesn’t have all the resources she needs to reach the same conclusions. All in all, this story was gripping and well-written and I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good murder mystery/thriller!
Happy reading ~