In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.
Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.
As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under Pearl’s spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.
I’ve become a huge Kubica fan as I loved both her previous novels, The Good Girl and Pretty Baby, so I was excited to finally get my hands on her latest thriller.
This book is told alternately by Quinn and Alex, each chapter skips back and forth between the two of them. I love this style and it works well here. You are wondering how or if these two seemingly unrelated characters will collide which adds an additional layer of suspense to an already suspenseful story.
The tempo starts out slower, still interesting but it is a slow boil rather than a book that grabs you instantaneously. It peaks the readers interest enough that you want more. It’s intriguing though and has a methodical build up where the action definitely ramps up as the story unfolds. By the end, the chapters grow shorter as the tension mounts. I found myself reading faster the further in I got.
I really found Quinn to be relatable. She is raw, vulnerable and sweet. Her desire for acceptance is apparent, especially the acceptance of her missing roommate and best friend, Esther. Alex kind of broke my heart. I wanted to be his mother as his desperation for a mom who would love him was heartbreaking. His loneliness was overwhelming, his greatest desire was to have someone to love, but even more so to be loved. That’s so relatable for anyone.
Looking back now, there were a few genius clues and hints dropped throughout the book that made me go, A HA! I love that. Even with those, I never saw the twist/ending coming. It was perfectly executed and superb.
If you like twisted family secrets, mysterious letters and phone calls, and narrators that grab your heartstrings in mystery novels then give this book a shot.
Overall rating: 4.5/5