Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

Setting: Yellow Springs, Ohio
Genre: Women's Fiction/Suspense
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: March 27, 2018

In her second novel, Jessica Strawser delves into the startling disappearance of a mom and her twins. Kristin is a likable mom with young twins. She's a college administrator and wife to a popular OB/GYN. While Kristin was about to go through a divorce, none of her friends could make sense of her disappearance.

Gathered around a neighbor's firepit, a group of women meet for wine and friendship. Most of the story is told by Clara, the closest to Kristin. Clara is baffled by the disappearance. It's also bringing up memories she'd rather forget. The other key character is Izzy. She's the only single woman in the group. She's the newcomer and is hoping for a fresh start away from her family.

Media attention to the case is making it hard to enjoy peace and quiet in the neighborhood. Paul, Kristin's husband, is the main suspect, as is true any time a spouse disappears. It makes him a bit of an outcast. Izzy doesn't want to immediately think the worst of a man who has been helpful in her getting her new house in shape. As the case progresses and some of Kristin's secrets come to light, it makes everyone question how well do they really know each other.

Not That I Could Tell is classified as women's fiction by Amazon. It's really more of a suspense/mystery novel. Kristin packs up most everything she owns and disappears with her twins. It looks like she left of her own accord, but why? That question keeps you reading.

I did feel all characters were likable and added to the story. I wasn't particularly fond of parenting styles from time to time. The kid creating her own newspaper to tell good news needed more of a talking to than she got. Her little paper project should have been yanked as soon as her mom saw the first edition. I disliked that plot. It didn't add anything I hadn't figured out.

When the big revelation is made, I really wasn't surprised. That's the only thing that keeps me from loving this book more. I liked it, but the ending, to me, was predictable. I wasn't shocked.


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