Author: Alafair Burke
Narrator: Xe Sands
Published: January 2016, Harper Audio
Length: 7 hours 43 minutes
In this breakout standalone novel of suspense in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on a Train, a woman agrees to help an old boyfriend who has been framed for murder—but begins to suspect that she is the one being manipulated.
Twenty years ago she ruined his life. Now she has the chance to save it.
Widower Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene ever since the shooting of his wife Molly by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago. An early morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman in last night’s party dress, barefoot, enjoying a champagne picnic alone, reading his favorite novel. Everything about her reminds him of what he used to have with Molly. Eager to help Jack find love again, his best friend posts a message on a popular website after he mentions the encounter. Days later, that same beautiful stranger responds and invites Jack to meet her in person at the waterfront. That’s when Jack’s world falls apart.
Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers. When she hears that her former fiancé, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide—and that one of the victims was connected to his wife’s murder—there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is who would go to such great lengths to frame him—and why?
For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, to absolve herself of guilt from a tragic decision, a secret she has held for twenty years. But as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him?
My thoughts: I got my first taste of Alafair Burke's writing with the series of books she is co-writing with Mary Higgins Clarke, the Under Suspicion series. I really love that series, so when I saw this stand-alone book coming out, I knew I had to read it. I know Alafair Burke has some other series, but this seemed like a good place to start to get a good feel for her writing by herself. And, I really liked it!
I love a good mystery and this definitely was that and more...I kept guessing and then having to reconfigure that guess as to who was really guilty - I love books that keep me on my toes and this one sure did that. It was twisty and engaging and had me glued to the audiobook - I didn't want to stop listening until I knew how it was going to turn out.
What I really love about this book is that there is such a good balance between a legal thriller and a psychological thriller - it never goes too much one way or the other. And the characters are richly drawn, it's so easy to become invested in them, especially Olivia and Jack. Olivia places blind faith in Jack but is there a chance she could be wrong? Is the fact that her and Jack share a past blinding her to the truth?
This was a fast-paced mystery with enough twists and turns and clever characters that keep you guessing right up to the end. I'm definitely going to be checking out Alafair Burkes' other books as I am now a fan!!! If you've read her books, what do you suggest I pick up next?
Audio thoughts: I love Xe Sands and was thrilled to see that she was narrating this book - she brought it to life! She did a great job with the characters and her pacing was spot-on. She is definitely one of my favorite narrators!!!