Thursday, August 18, 2016

She's Not There; Joy Fielding




She's Not There; Joy Fielding
Ballantine Books & Brilliance Audio - 2016

To celebrate 10 years of marriage Caroline Shipley's husband Hunter, an attorney, surprises her with a   family trip to a posh resort in Mexico.  The couple has 2 young daughters Michelle, 5, and Samantha, 2.  Two other couples, family and friends are also there to celebrate.

On the evening of their anniversary dinner celebration there is a mixup with the child watch services at the hotel and the couple finds themselves without a sitter.  Despite this they decide to go to dinner in the hotel restaurant which is directly below their room. They agree to check on the sleeping girls every 30 minutes while they dine.  Things go horribly wrong and 2 year old Samantha goes missing without a trace. A parent's nightmare and the guilt which follows torments the parents, especially Caroline. Each anniversary that passes since the disappearance the old hurts resurface.  New stories and occasional leads have failed to find their daughter.  

On the fifteenth anniversary since Samantha has gone missing a new article hits the news with photos of what Samantha might look like today at 17.   Soon after, the phone rings and the girl at the other end asks for Caroline and says,  “I think my real name is Samantha. I think I’m your daughter.” Caroline must find out if this can possibly be true.

What follows is a tension filled psychological thriller that held my interest through and through. There are a lot of emotions and accusations running through this story.  Definitely  character driven story, I was sympathetic and sometimes angered by the behavior of Michelle, the older daughter who was often difficult and disrespectful.  The story starts in the present with the phone call  and soon the chapters alternate between the present and the past to show how the lives of the family members were affected.

Although there were a few unlikely things that happened in this story, it was still a fast paced thriller. The audio book, read by Tanya Eby was excellent.  Fans of psychological thrillers should try this one.

4/5 stars
(library audio)

14 comments:

  1. The beginning of this reminded me of The Couple Next Door but I see it went in a different direction. You've piqued my interest for sure.

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  2. Kathy — exactly what I was thinking as I read but, just the set up was the same - babysitter issues and stupid decision by parents LOL

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  3. Oh, that sounds like another good one!

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  4. I used to read Fielding way back in the day when she first starting writing suspense thrillers. I remember really enjoying her fiction. Then I read a book by her a few years ago and it was not a good one for me, seemed very different from her old style of writing and quite improbable plot. Maybe it was just a slip and the rest of hers are still my type, but I didn't look for more of hers. This one, though, sounds like something I would enjoy! Thanks for a good review and I'll look for this one as a print book in the library.

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    1. Rita, I read her earliest ones and enjoyed them and then hit a few misses for a while and stopped. I think she may be back to her old stuff.

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  5. This reminds me of the true story of Madeleine McCann who was abducted while her family was on vacation in Portugal. Her parents left her and her older brother and sister while they went to a restaurant next door.

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    1. Vicki, yes, I remember that true story and wonder whether they ever found that girl?

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  6. Diane, I haven't embraced audio books yet, but I can certainly understand the value of a well read book. Excellent review!

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  7. One of these days I am going to read Joy Fielding. This one sounds kind of heavy for a mom but good.

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    1. I liked her earliest books and then read a few so so ones, so I stopped reading her for a while. Now she seems back to her earlier form.

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  8. I'm in the mood for a good thriller and this sounds like it might be just the one to try next. I've never read Fielding, but I'm curious, especially since the reader is good. Off to add it to my Audible list!

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    1. Les, this or some of her earliest books would be good. I liked the narrator here.

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