My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1.5 days
Pages - 357
Source - Netgalley
Blurb from Goodreads
Owen Pick’s life is falling apart.
In his thirties, a virgin, and living in his aunt’s spare bedroom, he has just been suspended from his job as a geography teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct, which he strongly denies. Searching for professional advice online, he is inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel—involuntary celibate—forums, where he meets the charismatic, mysterious, and sinister Bryn.
Across the street from Owen lives the Fours family, headed by mom Cate, a physiotherapist, and dad Roan, a child psychologist. But the Fours family have a bad feeling about their neighbor Owen. He’s a bit creepy and their teenaged daughter swears he followed her home from the train station one night.
Meanwhile, young Saffyre Maddox spent three years as a patient of Roan Fours. Feeling abandoned when their therapy ends, she searches for other ways to maintain her connection with him, following him in the shadows and learning more than she wanted to know about Roan and his family. Then, on Valentine’s night, Saffyre Maddox disappears—and the last person to see her alive is Owen Pick.
We have four main characters really, Saffyre - the troubled young girl who sees her therapist Roan. Roan (doesn't feature as much as the others) who is married to Cate, a physiotherapist and loving mom and their neighbour Owen, in his thirties living with his eccentric aunt. The story splits between the characters, who all seem to have some link to each other. Roan isn't exactly as sweetness and light and he seems, Owen is a teacher, a bit of a loaner who may be a bit more creepy than he initially seems. Saffyre, the troubled youngster, a secret from her past that drew her to therapy but what is she hiding in her present and what do any of them have to do, if anything with her disappearance.
It is a bit of a slow drip suspense, I was immediately intrigued within a few chapters, we flip between characters and you wonder what if anything they have to do with each other. Saffyre is missing, is she dead? We know this from the blurb but the story flips from present day with her being missing to Saffyre's chapters - pre disappearance and the more we hear from her the more layers are unraveled.
The book looks at different themes, how quickly we make assumptions and or judgements on a small amount of information and how that can impact on a person. Manipulation, lies, love, family, relationships, friendship, corruption, hate & that is just scratching the surface. I have read Jewell before and I will read her again. A slow burner but written so you are caught from the beginning wanting to know where it is going, what they are hiding and where is Saffyre, 4/5 for me this time! It is a standalone, perfect if you haven't read this author before, good paced, thriller, suspense, tick tick tick, absolutely recommend.