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Don't Look for Me: A Novel (original 2020; edition 2020)
by Wendy Walker (Author)
Don't Look for Me by Wendy Walker (2020)
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I’m becoming a fan of this author after reading this and Emma in the Night. I like what she does with her stories and how complicated everything is. Plus, there’s always a surprise even if you figure out part of what’s going on beforehand. I’m a big fan of the multiple twist mysteries.
This book sometimes seemed a little unreal, but I couldn’t help but get lost in the small town of Hastings and all it’s dysfunction. This is a 5 star book for me— Oh and I read it in audio and loved that format for this!
This book was a much needed respite after having to read multiple boring nonfiction texts. I haven’t read a page-turner like this in awhile and it was completely different than anything I’ve ever read. The pace was absolutely perfect, each chapter ending with the push to read more. The honest feelings felt by each character were a refreshing change of pace, having dealt with my fair share of grief, the guilt and coping mechanisms described were very relatable. Surprising twists and turns kept me theorizing about the outcome until the very end, and amidst a trend of unresolved finales, I was pleasantly surprised. As a relatively new reader to Wendy Walker, I have been more than pleased with what I’ve read and she has found a fan in me.
Thank you, St. Martin’s Press, for allowing me to read an advanced copy. The opinions are my own.
Molly Clarke's car is found abandoned miles from home, her phone is left behind. She has left a note at a nearby hotel. She has simply walked away from her life, her family. But someone isn't convinced that's what really happened.
I love the cover. This is an author, for me, that I already know the book is going to be good before I even crack the cover. I wasn't disappointed. I loved everything about this one - the characters are three-dimensional, the setting is a little eerie, the situations are heartbreaking. The writing is great and the whole story flows well. I couldn't wait to find out what was going on! It was twisty and I didn't see anything coming. A page-turner that kept me reading until early morning.
Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC.
I have had Don’t Look for Me on my TBR for a long time. I originally had gotten it as an ARC before the pandemic started. I ended up not reading it because I got overwhelmed with being stuck inside and teaching three heartbroken kids. I didn’t read anything for almost a year (until I sent my youngest back to school). So why review Don’t Look for Me now? It was two things. The first one: I decided to try and clean up any/all of my NetGalley reviews from that period (and earlier this year, yikes). If I had to pay for the book, it was all good; I’ll pay for it (which ties in with the second thing). The second: I decided to get Kindle Unlimited. The first thing I did was go through all sixty-something books and download what was on KU. And that brought me to reading and reviewing Don’t Look for Me. I absolutely couldn’t put this book down!! It was that good!!
Don’t Look for Me had two exciting storylines. One storyline follows Nicole and her quest to find her missing mother, Molly. As she digs into Molly’s disappearance, she sees similarities to another woman who went missing ten years previously. What is the connection between the disappearances?
The second storyline follows Molly, the events leading up to her kidnapping, and what happened to her afterward. Molly is drowning in guilt over her nine-year-old daughter’s accidental death four years ago. That death shattered her family, who all blamed her. The night she is kidnapped, Molly accepts a ride from a stranger with a daughter the same age her daughter was when Molly accidentally killed her. That ride leads to her imprisonment. As Molly plans to escape, she is forced to deal with her daughter’s death. Will Molly escape?
Don’t Look for Me is a fast-paced book set in the fictional town of Hastings, Connecticut. This book starts a little slow. That allowed the author to explain Molly’s backstory. Once the author explained, the book picked up the pace and didn’t slow until the explosive end.
The characters in Don’t Look for Me were not likable. I cannot stress this enough. Except for Molly, I was not too fond of any of the main characters. Each character had complex issues the author could go into without taking away from the storylines.
Molly—My heart broke for her. I want to clarify; she was the only character in this book I liked. She didn’t deserve the scorn and hatred of her husband and children over what happened. It. Was. An. Accident. I cannot stress this enough. I loved seeing her gradually come to terms with her child’s death and her role in it. I also liked that she resolved not to leave Alice behind when she finally escaped. Of course, she used her resources as a chemistry teacher to do something I had no idea could be done. Honestly, I wanted to google it but was afraid I would get put on some watch list….lol.
Nicole—I didn’t like her. Scratch that; I couldn’t stand her. The things she said to Molly during their last confrontation were horrible. She self-medicated with alcohol and sex. I figured out why she was doing that early in the book. But, as much as I didn’t like her, I did like her resolve to find Molly. Nicole had seen something in Molly’s notes that changed everything, and she was determined to bring her home. But, she was like a bull in a china shop with her investigation.
Jared Reyes—-He was shady AF. Right from the get-go, I didn’t like him. He was almost too helpful to Nicole. It made me wonder what he was hiding. I did think his backstory was awful. It made his dedication to his job and Chief Watkins understandable. Still, I thought something was off with him.
Alice—She annoyed me. No nine-year-old talked the way she did. I have a nine-year-old, and I know she doesn’t have the vocabulary that Alice did. I also thought she was very messed up. She kept bringing up Molly’s dead daughter and telling Molly how bad Molly was for causing her death. I had a WTF moment while reading that. What typical nine-year-old would say that?
The secondary characters in Don’t Look for Me added the extra oomph that the book needed. The author did a great job of having them cast red herrings all over the place.
Don’t Look for Me fit perfectly into the psychological thriller genre. I also thought it fit into the mystery genre (Molly’s disappearance).
The author amazingly wrote the storyline with Molly, her kidnapping, her family, and her youngest daughter’s death. I did not figure out who kidnapped Molly. So, when it was revealed at the end of the book, I was shocked. As for her youngest daughter’s death, I was heartbroken by how much pain Molly was in. And I was disgusted by how her husband and surviving children treated her. DISGUSTED!!! There was a point in this plotline that I wondered if Molly would have been better off staying with the kidnapper and Alice.
The storyline with Nicole, Molly’s kidnapping, and her detective work was also as well written as Molly’s. I didn’t like Nicole, but I understood she was hurting. I also understood that she felt guilt over Molly disappearing and blamed herself. I enjoyed reading about her working through her emotions and realizing that she might need help. She was a good detective. I didn’t see the twist in her plotline coming, either. That also took me by surprise.
The storyline with Molly, Alice, and the kidnapper was exciting but less interesting than the other two main storylines. Again, another twist in this book took me by surprise. I didn’t expect what happened to happen.
The end of Don’t Look for Me was chaotic. The author brought together and then closed everything storyline in the book. She did it in such a way that I was left satisfied as a reader. I loved the epilogue but didn’t like what Molly felt she had to or wanted to do. But it was a closure I didn’t know I needed until I read it.
I recommend Don’t Look for Me to anyone over 21. There is language, mild to moderate violence, and sexual situations.
I want to thank NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and Wendy Walker for allowing me to read and review this book. I got this book first as an ARC and then downloaded it on KU to read.
One night, Molly Clarke walked away from her life. She doesn't want to be found. Or at least, that's the story. The car abandoned miles from home. The note found at a nearby hotel. The shattered family that couldn't be put back together. They called it a "walk away." It happens all the time. Women disappear, desperate to leave their lives behind and start over. But is that what really happened to Molly Clarke?
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.6Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
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It has your evil, sick and demented characters naturally, but it also shows the love and strength of what a mother daughter bond can really be...even, when they didn’t have that bond before evil entered the picture.
Thank you to St Martins Press and NetGalley for an ARC in return for my honest review. ( )