Title: Not That I Could Tell
Author: Jessica Strawser
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Page Count: 336
My rating: 4 stars
About the book:
An innocent night of fun takes a shocking turn in Not That I Could Tell, the next page-turner from Jessica Strawser.
When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.
By Monday morning, one of them is gone.
Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own.
As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.
Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser is a domestic drama mixed with a bit of suspense. This one would be another of what I’m starting to call my popcorn books in which you just sit back with your popcorn and watch the drama unfold in this neighborhood.
One Saturday night Clara decided to invite all the ladies in the neighborhood over for a bit of a girls night. A little wine and adult company around the fire pit sounded perfect to the busy mothers of the group. Izzy who had just moved didn’t have children to chase around but she was all for making some new friends in her new neighborhood after having her heart broken when the man she loved married her sister.
On Sunday most of the group found themselves nursing hangovers after getting a little too carried away with the wine in which they weren’t used to having. But on Monday morning everyone was completely shocked to hear that one of their neighbors had gone missing after their party. Kristin’s estranged husband had called in the police when he couldn’t get in touch with her with it looking like she had packed up her twins and left.
One might think this would be more of a thriller with a missing mother and her children with no clue where they had gone or what had happened to them but their story is somewhat background to getting to know the drama of the neighborhood. The story mostly follows Izzy and Clara but you do get to know all of the neighborhood including a very ambitious twelve year old that gets involved investigating. It was all quite captivating with an easy flow to the story and great characterization. I’d count this as another winner from Jessica Strawser that had me engaged all the way to the end.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Jessica Strawser is the Editor-at-Large for Writer’s Digest magazine, North America’s leading publication for aspiring and working writers since 1920. Her debut novel, ALMOST MISSED YOU (St. Martin’s Press), was a Barnes & Noble Best New Fiction Selection upon its March 2017 release, as well as a She Reads Book Club Selection and a PopSugar Best Spring Read. The book garnered accolades from such wide-ranging bestsellers as Chris Bohjalian, Adriana Trigiani, Lisa Scottoline, Jacquelyn Mitchard, and Garth Stein. Her second, NOT THAT I COULD TELL, is forthcoming from St. Martin’s in March 2018, and a third is under contract for 2019.
Her diverse career in the publishing industry spans more than 15 years and includes stints in book editing, marketing and public relations, and freelance writing and editing. A Pittsburgh native and “Outstanding Senior” graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, she counts her New York Times Modern Love essay and her Writer’s Digest cover interviews with such luminaries as Alice Walker, Anne Tyler and David Sedaris among her career highlights. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two children.
She blogs at the WritersDigest.com “There Are No Rules” blog and elsewhere, tweets @jessicastrawser, enjoys connecting at Facebook.com/jessicastrawserauthor, and speaks at writing conferences and events that are kind enough to invite her.
Visit jessicastrawser.com to learn more, read some of her work and sign up for her email list to receive occasional updates and hellos.