You Are Not Alone
The perfect pairing of Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen has stuck gold once again with the release of their third novel You Are Not Alone, cementing their place on my list of auto-buy authors. Their writing blends beautifully, making it impossible to tell who is responsible for creating which characters or scenes. This book honestly reads like it was written by one extremely skilled writer which is exactly how an effort such as this should feel to its reader.
We all know someone exactly like Shay Miller, a seeker, someone who seems slightly out of step with the rest of the world. She’s reasonably attractive, intelligent, hard-working, and kind, but somehow, the best things in life constantly seem to pass her by. Her job prospects aren’t great, and her best friend has recently gotten involved with someone new, causing Shay to feel the tiniest bit shut out. Things aren’t hopeless, but life isn’t turning out the way she hoped it would.
One Sunday morning while she’s on her way to work, Shay sees a woman step off the subway platform and into the path of an oncoming train. She’s understandably shaken by what she’s witnessed, and she can’t get the image of the stranger’s broken body out of her mind. She’s filled with countless questions about who the woman was and what could have caused her to end her life in such a tragic way. When the woman’s name is released to the public, Shay begins looking into who she was in hopes of putting her own mind at ease, but the more she learns about Amanda’s personal life, the more intrigued she becomes.
Sisters Jane and Cassandra Moore have never met Shay, but they do know Amanda, and they’re not happy when they learn that Shay has been poking around in Amanda’s personal business. The sisters are keeping some dangerous secrets, some of which are directly linked to Amanda’s death, and the last thing they want is for Shay to inadvertently uncover the link they’ve worked so hard to conceal. With the help of a secretive network of women, Jane and Cassandra begin to insert themselves into Shay’s life in hopes of learning exactly what she knows about Amanda. Before long, the women are embroiled in a deadly game of cat and mouse, but the playing field seems far from level.
There’s not much more I can tell you about the plot without ruining the novel’s magic for you. I had an inkling of what Cassandra and Jane were up to, but many of the small details eluded me until the end, allowing me to step away from the book with a feeling of immense satisfaction. I’m always a little grumpy when I figure out the twist before I’m supposed to, so the fact that I was left guessing about a couple of key points kept me on my toes.
Shay is a wonderfully relatable heroine, due in no small part to how average she is. She’s the kind of person you could easily run across in your own daily life; in fact, her lack of overwhelming beauty or remarkable talents made me feel like the situation she found herself in could happen to just about anyone. It’s not necessary for me to see myself in the characters I read about, but it’s always helpful if I can find even a small amount of commonality as I get to know them.
Some readers refer to You Are Not Alone as a shallow thriller, but that wasn’t my impression at all. True, it’s not a super heavy and intense read, but then, that’s not always what I’m in the mood for when I pick up a book like this. I tend to love the escapist quality of a thriller, and I don’t always have to be wowed by the deep intellect of the story’s message. As long as the characters are relatable, the story is compelling, and the pacing doesn’t drag, I’m likely to call it a success, and this book more than delivers in all those areas, making it a thriller I’m happy to recommend to fans of the genre.