book review: True Crime Addict by James Renner

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Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. Appreciated as always!

Absorbing, disturbing and absolutely unputdownable – this was one of the best ‘true crime’ novels I’ve ever read.

I should state as an aside that I’m a bit of a ‘missing persons’ buff. A macabre interest, I’m sure – but the subject has always fascinated me. Saddened me, of course, but fascinated me too. The notion of a person vanishing without a trace is just too intriguing and horrifying. It goes against our basic human instincts and responses – we want to always know where the people we love are. To imagine going to the grave not knowing – it’s beyond heartrending.

In True Crime Addict, journalist and novelist James Renner examines his obsession with serial killers, unexplained disappearances, and the baffling case of Maura Murray, who vanished from a snowy, lonely New Hampshire road in 2004. Tellingly, The Charley Project reports that “police do not suspect foul play was involved with her disappearance.”

Neither do I.

What will you believe? After reading True Crime Addict, you may feel differently than I did after finishing it, but I doubt it. I believe that ** SPOILERS ahead ….

….

Maura Murray chose to leave her life behind. Perhaps using a program that help abused women escape from their abusers. With her legal issues and what in my opinion seemed to be a strained relationship with her father, I think Maura decided to cut her losses and start anew. Not to mention the bizarre way her family reacted to Renner’s requests for interviews – closing ranks, etc, well, to me, it’s clear that something is odd here. There have been repeated sightings of her in Quebec and I think that’s likely where she is – hopefully happy and hopefully at peace with her decisions.

There may be a darker reason – and I think Renner suspects it as well, but I’m not going to speculate here, as it would be just that – speculation. Sure, all signs point toward it, but I would hope that if that is the case – that Maura has gotten help and that she is surrounded by people who love her.

Now off to buy Renner’s other books. His writing is crisp, intelligent, often funny and always engaging. I started reading this book this morning and just finished. Couldn’t and didn’t want to put it down.

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review: Slip of the Tongue by Jessica Hawkins

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Thank you to Jessica Hawkins and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate it!~

Was this book good?

Well, what does it tell you that right after reading it, I bought everything else Jessica Hawkins has ever read and devoured her words like a starving animal? Maybe that last sentence was unnecessarily creepy, but you get the idea.

Just…

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So, this was not at all what I expected. Given the summary, I fully believed I’d be rooting for one particular couple, and the opposite happened. Don’t you love that? I love, love, love when authors surprise me – especially New Adult authors. It’s a genre that often relies on routine plots, and Jessica Hawkins is anything but routine in her writing and imagining.

Slip of the Tongue is about Sadie Hunt. She’s your typical New York girl – living in Manhattan with her husband Nate, working for a PR firm and struggling with the idea of growing up and moving on. Worse, her husband – once loving, sexual and sweet – has turned into a ghost overnight. Cold, mono-syllabic and withdrawn, Nate has taken his love away from Sadie – something she can’t understand and can’t bear. He won’t discuss it with her, leaving her to draw her own conclusions.

Enter a new neighbor, stage left.

Finn Cohen is the opposite of Nate. He wants Sadie. Badly. He seems to be willing to do anything to be with her – and in her current mindset, it’s very, very tough for Sadie to resist.

Does she?

You’ll have to read to find out, but it’s obvious from most of Hawkins’ writing that she is fascinated by cheating, and it’s no different here. I love that she focuses on this particular part of relationships – monogamy, finding the ‘one’, marriage, affairs, etc – because so many authors really shy away from it. On GoodReads, most novels that deal with cheating have terrible reviews. It’s not something many readers can stomach. I’m normally one of them actually. For instance, Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens is super popular and the entire thing infuriated me. Mainly because of the main character.

Sadie was different. I really felt for her. She seemed like a genuinely good person who just can’t help herself / nor figure out what the hell happened to her life. She struggles with her decisions, knowing that what she’s doing is wrong – but in the end, she tries to do the right thing. She tries to give everyone what they want.

Naturally, she can’t. But she still tries, and that means something to me. Her marriage with Nate felt very real to me – as were the reasons behind his sudden change of heart. How the little things DO add up. How it can be the smallest thing, but in a marriage – it can mean disaster.

Regardless of small quibbles (the ending wraps up too quickly for me), I just loved, loved, love this. I’ve read it twice. Go and give Jessica Hawkins the fame she deserves! Go, go, go!