My little boy’s room was empty, his bed neatly made. Alarm bells should have rung immediately. Then the knock on the door came. All I remember is a thick fog wrapping itself tightly around me. This couldn’t be happening to us.
Three years ago, nurse Zoe’s son Ethan was found drowned in a muddy river by their home, along with his best friend Josh. With no witnesses, their deaths were ruled a tragic accident.
Heartbroken, Zoe and her family, move away from her home. They’re just beginning to get back to some kind of normality, when, out of the blue, Zoe receives an anonymous email:
You need to find out the truth about what happened to your son. Don’t let this rest. Don’t believe the lie.
Shaken, Zoe starts an obsessive hunt for the truth. But why is her husband so reluctant to help?
And why is Josh’s mother so determined not to believe her?
*Thank you to the publisher, Bookouture, and NetGalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review.
This is my first Kathryn Croft novel and I’d say it won’t be the last. I enjoyed it. I find the pacing a bit slow and there are few characters to follow, but it’s not to say that it’s not engaging. It actually is, and it turns out to be a good read in the end.
It’s been three years since the death of Zoe and Jake’s youngest son, Ethan. He was found dead in a river with his best friend Josh. And though the family tried to move on from the loss, Ethan’s presence or the lack of it still hounds them. Not only did the marriage is under strain but Jake can’t seem to connect with his eldest son, Harley, too. And then, Zoe received an anonymous email that tells her to find out the truth about Ethan’s death. It shakes her to the core. Jake easily dismissed it as a prank and Zoe tried to believe the same but she can’t think of anyone that could be that inconsiderate. And though, she thinks Jake is right, it doesn’t stop her from a wild goose search for what really happened to her son that night. When she reached out to Josh’s parents, no one is cooperative and both agreed with her husband. Obviously, they are hiding something. But what? And when she started receiving text messages with the same context as the email, Zoe is determined to find out the truth on her own, prank or not.
The story is told from multiple POVs, with Zoe as the main focus. There’s also that of her son, Harley, and her husband, Jake. Aside from them, there are also narratives from Josh’s mother, Roberta, Zoe’s best friend, Leanne, and an anonymous voice that one would assume knows what happened three years ago. Aside from Zoe, it was hinted how these characters and the others are hiding secrets and acting suspiciously thus making things harder to figure out. And just like Zoe, we will wonder who’s trustworthy and who’s not. The numerous viewpoints are okay as it’s easy to keep up with each of their stories, but not all characters are fleshed out as I hoped as I feel like they are just there to throw the readers off. There are few where you’ll feel sympathetic and there are those who are utterly unlikeable. The anonymous narrator is such a puzzle as it’s hard to really see, even guess, who it’s connected with as clues are vague and thus it makes things a little more interesting.
I like Zoe’s character best and I am drawn to her sheer determination to find answers no matter what. She may not like what she’d found but she bravely embraced the truth. I feel for her all throughout and just wanted for her to find the closure she’s looking for.
It took us from several directions, and just when you thought you had things figured out, there’ll be a surprising twist that will take you back and move to another theory as to where things are going. I didn’t see that twisty end coming and it certainly surprised me. And because of that, I was very satisfied with how everything turned out. There are also a few issues raised that readers can ponder on which makes it more compelling. It is about family, friendship, loss, trust, lies, and betrayal. Overall, it was a brilliantly written thriller and a satisfying read. I’ll sure watch out for more of Kathryn Croft.