SINCE SHE WENT AWAY
By: David Bell
Published: June 21, 2016
Jenna and Celia have been best friends since childhood, but as adults, fitting in time to get together between jobs, kids, and Celia’s country club friends have been difficult. Even though they don’t see each other as often, they always seamlessly pick up right where they left off. One night Jenna decides they should go crazy and meet up at midnight and hit the town, much like they did in their younger years. Something happens at home and causes Jenna to be late to meet Celia and when she does arrive Celia isn’t there. Celia never shows up and a missing person report is filed.
In the meantime, Jenna’s son Jared is in his first ever romantic relationship as a high schooler. Then his new girlfriend disappears and Celia’s daughter Ursula is turning into a bully at school which makes Jared uncomfortable. The news media and the police keep knocking on Jenna’s door and she is just trying to get some normalcy back in her life while wanting to know what happened to Celia. After another woman goes missing in a nearby town everyone begins to wonder if there a serial murderer on the loose.
I really liked the premise of this story and I was certainly intrigued, but unfortunately for me, this story got a little too bogged down in meaningless and repetitive conversations. I felt like every chapter included Jenna leaving and telling Jared to lock the doors while she was gone and then in the next paragraph Jared was leaving and getting himself into a bad situation. After the first few times, it got a bit old because you could imagine what was coming next.
There were a few twists and I was definitely interested in finding out what was going to happen and who was behind the disappearance of the women. But, I eventually put it down for awhile and picked away at it a few chapters at a time until the last ten chapters or so. The chapters are quite short and make it easy to read a few at a time. The characters are likable and realistic for the most part. I had some issues with where the author took Jared in the book, especially in his relationship with his girlfriend. As the mom of a 15-year-old boy, I felt, at times, it was unrealistic.
The ending seemed quick and left me a little unsatisfied. If I had to grade this book, I’d say the first third was an “A”, the middle third a “C” and the final third a “B”. The author did a great job of grabbing your attention at the beginning but could use less detail and side stories in the middle to keep the reader invested in the characters and the mystery. The author is quite popular and well-liked, but since I haven’t read his other books I can’t give a good comparison. I think most regular mystery readers would find this one a bit boring.
|David Bell – source|
David J. Bell’s previous novels include SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW, THE FORGOTTEN GIRL, NEVER COME BACK, THE HIDING PLACE, and CEMETERY GIRL. He is currently an Associate Professor of English at Western Kentucky University and can be reached via his website at www.davidbellnovels.com.
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