Book Review: Just Between Us By Rebecca Drake

JUST BETWEEN US
A Novel

By: Rebecca Drake

Published: January 9, 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Fiction/Suspense/Thriller

I think what makes suspense novels such a thrilling read is when you can picture yourself in the story. Four suburban moms who meet every morning and afternoon at the bus stop become quick friends. Even though their backgrounds are a bit different, they soon become dependent on the friendship and support that each one offers. Julie, a high-profile realtor, and Sarah become friends first. Then Alison moves in. Even though she keeps her past a secret, she soon becomes friends with Julie and Sarah but always feels like the third wheel. Then Heather, a former model and wife of a plastic surgeon, seems like the perfect addition to their group. Soon their lives become intertwined and three of the friends begin to suspect that one of their friends is being abused by her husband. When they finally confront her, the ripple effects of that revelation result in a murder and a downward spiral that none of them would have expected. 

Some of my closest friends are moms that I met because our children have been going to school together since preschool. While reading this book, I could picture myself being wrapped up in the care and concern of a friend being abused. But, would I have gone to the lengths that these women did to protect her? I can’t say, but it did make for a thrilling page-turner. 

The novel is told from the perspective of each of the women. In each chapter one woman shares just enough of their past, as well as their regrets regarding the decision they all made, to keep the reader guessing as to what that horrifying choice was that forever changed their lives. I appreciated that the top of each page-spread had the character’s name since especially in the beginning, it was tricky to keep all the women straight. Even though parts of the plot are predictable, the author adds in just enough surprises and twists to keep the reader interested. Although some of the particulars made have felt a bit far-fetched and I had to keep reminding myself to overlook the details, I still became enthralled with the story. Once the twist is revealed, I did find some of the material a bit graphic, but I easily skimmed the details and moved on to the next chapter as I got the gist of what happened. 

Fans of suspense novels and a bit of the unreliable narrator will be intrigued by the secrets each of the characters are hiding from their friends. Once doubt creeps into the minds of the women, the fear of what’s to come grows among the pages. I believe that most of us feel like we would never be able to commit such a horrific crime, but that line that separates us from those who have committed a crime becomes blurred very quickly. You really have no idea what you would do if you were thrown into a situation of protecting your best friend. 

Drake’s fast-paced novel shares the lengths that women would go to protect their friends and their families, how secrets can creep into the psyche and affect the ways we interact with others, and the shame we feel when everything begins to fall apart. 

Rebecca Drake – source

Rebecca Drake is the author of the novels Don’t Be Afraid, The Next Killing, The Dead Place, which was an IMBA bestseller, and Only Ever You, as well as the short story “Loaded,” which was featured in Pittsburgh Noir. A graduate of Penn State University and former journalist, she is currently an instructor in Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction M.F.A. program. Rebecca lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with her husband and two children.
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