May 06, 2016

Nowhere Girl - Susan Strecker

Thomas Dunne Books, March 1, 2016.

Four Stars

Cady’s twin sister Savannah was always prettier and more popular in high school – until she was murdered. The killer was never found, and years later, Cady is still struggling with survivor’s guilt. The girls had a strong psychic connection between the two of them, and Cady could feel her sister’s last breath. She channels her unresolved issues of guilt into a promising career as a writer of homicide novels.

Although her professional life is a success, Cady’s personal life is a disaster. Her marriage is falling apart, and her husband is drifting away from her. Overall, everything is stalled because of her obsession with finding her sister’s killer. She runs into an old friend, Brady, who works as a prison guard and she convinces him to let her interview a serial killer. The interview is ostensibly for her novel, but really she is searching for the motivations behind her sister’s seemingly senseless death. Meanwhile, old feelings between Cady and Brady are rekindled, creating further stress on her marriage.

What makes this novel so exciting is that everyone is a suspect, including Cady – sometimes she even begins to doubt herself. She has a great, quirky group of friends, made up of amazingly realistic characters, and she is suspicious of each one in turn. Cady herself is completely flawed, which makes her all the more likeable. She is an unusual character who doesn’t fit into a distinct stereotype, and I found her to be so realistic and fun to read about. Cady is a different kind of heroine, and this novel is unlike a traditional thriller/mystery. It is plot-drive, but with so much depth of character.

Each character is solid and fleshed-out, with intriguingly realistic backstories. The dialogue between the friends is witty, fun and completely believable. Cady has her love interests, yet there are no instant romances – every one of these people have believable complications. Although the subject matter is dark, much of the story is told with a light touch, making this really fun to read.

When Cady lost her sister, she also lost herself – the girls were so connected, that Cady did not think she could survive without Savannah. As she rediscovers her own strength and independence, she is able to focus her energy and find the killer. All of her friends and family are suspects, but I certainly never came close to guessing the culprit. Strecker’s writing style is complex and entertaining, and I look forward to reading more by this author.

I received this novel from Thomas Dunne Books and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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