Desert Isle Keeper
Tell No One
Tell No One is the latest standalone novel by author Barbara Taylor Sissel. It’s the first one of her books I’ve read, and I guarantee it won’t be the last.
It’s been nearly thirty years since Caroline Corbett last laid eyes on her father. Hoff walked out on her and her mother when Caroline was a teenager, and Caroline cut him out of her life at that point. Now though, her beloved aunt is dying, and she’s expressed a wish to see Hoff one more time, so Caroline is determined to do everything in her power to grant her aunt’s final wish. She packs up and heads out on what might turn out to be nothing but a wild goose chase, but Caroline knows she’ll never forgive herself if she doesn’t at least make an effort to do this one last thing for her aunt.
Harris Fenton can’t pinpoint the exact moment his once well-crafted life began to fall apart, but he knows every single bad choice he’s made relates to a terrible tragedy he experienced the summer he turned twelve. He’s haunted by the events of that night, and nothing, not the drugs, the alcohol, or the walls he’s built around his heart can block out the memories. And now, Caroline Corbett, a woman he’s never met but to whom he is connected in unimaginable ways, is searching for the truth about her father’s disappearance, and her attempts to dig up the past might cost Harris everything he’s fought so hard to achieve.
Caroline’s search for her father takes her to Texas, where she attempts to make contact with some of Hoff’s associates. Unfortunately, everyone she contacts attempts to dissuade her from continuing her search, and some even go so far as to threaten her safety. The smart thing to do would be to return home, allowing the secrets surrounding Hoff’s disappearance to stay buried, but something inside won’t allow Caroline to abandon her quest. She continues to ask questions, even when she’s nearly killed by someone who will stop at nothing to keep her from uncovering a dark and disturbing truth about her father.
On the surface, Tell No One appears to be just another in a long string of crime novels filled with flawed characters and mind-blowing twists. However, if you allow yourself to get sucked into the story the author is telling, it won’t take you long to realize it’s actually something far deeper and more complex. Barbara Taylor Sissel does a fantastic job drawing readers into the hearts and minds of her characters, and I really felt I knew Caroline and Harris by the time I finished the book. It’s not that I don’t find this in books by other authors, because of course I do, but this novel contains an extra layer of authenticity that sets it apart from the crowd. Every character exists in this fabulous gray area, and I love that the author allowed her characters to be so unapologetically human. She doesn’t try to make us love them or hate them. Rather, she presents us with all of their accomplishments and frailties, allowing us to draw our own conclusions about what makes them tick.
If you’re someone who likes things to be laid out for you in a clear and concise manner, Tell No One might not be the book for you. I was initially confused by certain elements of the plot, but if you stick with it, everything will eventually make sense. I think it’s normal to be a bit confused when reading a book as complex as this one, so just hang in there and enjoy the wild, wonderful ride.