By Jennifer Hillier
Published July 2022
This is one of the summer releases I was really looking forward to reading, mostly for the title – it sounded deliciously creepy. A huge shout out to my library for getting it to me quickly.
Here’s the blurb: Paris Peralta has worked damn hard to improve her life – heck, she even changed her identity to get away from her past. Being arrested for murdering her celebrity husband isn’t the worst thing that could happen. She didn’t kill him, despite being found covered in his blood, holding a straight razor. No, the worst thing that could happen is the publicity that follows her arrest. Because the person she’s been running from for over a decade, the only one who might know who she really is, could see her photo and destroy the life she’s built for herself. That would be much worse than having to prove her innocence.
This is a heavily plot-driven novel. At times, it reminded me of a James Patterson book, where the plot takes center stage and the characters come in a distant second. I’m a fan of in-depth character-driven novels so part of me didn’t like the fact that none of the characters are very deep. The other part of me was flipping pages as fast as possible to find out what happens next.
The novel presents the story in sections starting with the current timeline and her husband’s death, then jumping back to Paris’s childhood and early adult life. There is also a POV dedicated to her former roommate and best friend who is researching a podcast on Paris’s mother that ties up a lot of details between her childhood and resurrection as Paris.
Her childhood was horrible (and the plot hinges on that). I mean, truly the stuff of nightmares. Ruby Reyes is possibly the most toxic mother I’ve come across in a long time. Just flat out evil. There are some triggering events in here, namely child abuse and pedophilia. It’s dropped into the book in dribs and drabs but once the full picture of what happened to Paris became apparent, I was shocked that she managed to become a relatively “normal” adult without extensive therapy. But this is where I had problems with the lack of character development, since her history was almost glossed over as if it were simply a plot point. The lack of character development might have been a saving grace. It’s quite dark, although not the darkest I’ve read for the simple fact that we’re never deeply in anyone’s head.
This is one book that probably deserves a trigger warning for the above. It’s a decent thriller, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who doesn’t like to dive into darker fiction.
3.25/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐+
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