Judith D Collins
Where the Memories Lie
By: Sibel Hodge
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 9/22/2015
My Rating: 5 Stars
Twenty-five years ago Katie ran away from home and never came back. But now she’s suddenly reappeared in her best friend Olivia’s life—in the form of a chilling confession. Olivia’s father-in-law, wracked with guilt, says he murdered her all those years ago.
Tom suffers from Alzheimer’s and his story is riddled with error and confusion. Except for one terrifying certainty: he knows where the body is buried.
As Olivia and the police piece together the evidence, they are left with one critical question. They have a crime, they have a confession, and now they have a body—but can any of it be trusted?
A special thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Sibel Hodge returns following Look Behind You, with WHERE MEMORIES LIE —a psychological intense suspense of dark family secrets, confessions, betrayal, and lies—how far would you go to protect the ones you love? Beware: Be mindful of those holding your secrets. Alzheimer’s could get you faster than a snitch in jail, or a white collar corporate whistleblower! I N T R I G U I N G ! Hodge explores the power of the secrets people keep-the darker, hidden facets of our lives, and what happens when they come to light. Tom, an amazing kindhearted man and father, renovated and converted an old barn twenty-five-years ago into a family home. He had owned a successful construction company, Tate Construction and his goal was to see his family content and happy. A loving father to Nadia, Ethan, and Chris, residing with their dad until they left home. When Tom developed Alzheimer’s, Ethan and daughter-in-law, Olivia purchased the house from him. Olivia loved the rustic and country theme with exposed brick, earthy tones and cozy charm- a place of solace, where they lived in the small village with their twelve-year-old daughter Anna. None of the family wanted to move Tom to a nursing home; however, Tom almost blew up the house one day, while leaving the gas knob on and lighting his pipe. After Nadia did her research, they found the nicest home and Tom ended up at Mountain View Nursing Home. Every time they saw Tom, he seemed to shrink inside himself more. Once a tall, solidly built, active man, he was not stooped and colorless and bony. Tom suffers from a ravaging disease of Alzheimer’s. Olivia a nurse, knows the worst thing is the slow, steady relentless progression of a disease that would eventually be fatal. From the initial stages of attacking the part of the brain where memories are formed. Then it spreads to different regions of the brain, killing cells and compromising function. The damage to the areas where emotions are processed then makes it harder for patients to control moods and feelings. Next it wreaks havoc on the senses, evening causing hallucinations and delusions, and erasing the oldest and most precious memories of a person. In the last stages it destroys the area of the brain responsible for regulating breathing and the heart. It will be horrific for each of their family members to watch a person they love change into someone else. Changing them from kind and compassionate to vicious and bitter. From calm and happy to angry and spiteful. Heartbreaking. However, what Olivia did not anticipate was an alarming confession! Tom confesses he murdered someone to protect his family. Why is he confessing now, unless it is his blurred mind speaking, which is quite common? A secret to protect his family until the Alzheimer’s made it impossible to stay hidden? Told from Olivia’s POV, we learn about a missing Georgia Walker. What is she supposed to do with this confession? Surely he is delusional. They would laugh her out of the police station if she went to them, and what about her family? She cannot let this drop, as she has to find out more about this mystery. However, later she finds out Georgia is alive and well, and she is relieved. When she informs Tom of this news, he then says, it was not Georgia, it was Katie Quinn. Olivia’s best friend! He says he had to do it and he buried her. Katie went missing some twenty-five years earlier. Katie had been eighteen. There had been the letter she had addressed to her mom and dad. They thought she just ran away and would turn up later. Maybe she had left for reasons, and surely Tom had not killed her, or there would not have been a letter. Olivia knew she did not have a good home life, with two alcoholic parents. She had been the adult in the family, carrying a tremendous load. Her boyfriend, Chris (Olivia’s brother-in-law), had been working for Tom at Tate Construction, at the time as a builder. Katie dreamed of a life with him and a family. The pressure was too much for Chris to be settled down and he was not ready, and finally ended things. Olivia had always felt guilty for not been there for her friend. She has to find out what happened to her. How do you find someone who wants to stay hidden? Google becomes Olivia’s best friend. Did Katie leave of her own free will? She has to find the letter. She then remembers things about her friend – had she been sexually active or sexual abused? Had her father, Jack sexually abused her, and was the letter a cover up? She has to open Pandora’s Box. A full investigation is underway, and more secrets surface. They find the body. Each clue and secret to surface, is more alarming than the previous. Why would her father-in-law admit to killing and burying Katie? This was insane, mad, crazy, right? They lived in a small village, and what if this word got out? She has to protect the family. Could her father-in-law have been involved with Kate? His own son’s girlfriend? A gripping mystery suspense, as we revisit the time twenty-five years ago. Everyone is a suspect, and Olivia is in the middle of the investigation, suspecting everyone—from Tom, her brother-in-law, even her own husband. Could Katie have turned to Tom, when Chris dumped her? The more she digs, the more she finds out about her best friend. Could Katie be buried under their garage, and if so, who killed her and why? Maybe Tom was covering for someone else to protect them. When the unspeakable happens, Olivia is blamed for bringing up Tom’s secret. A family is destroyed. Her husband Ethan will never forgive her. Their once-happy family is unraveling, piece by piece. Wow, more shockers, more surprises, and twists and turns—was Katie more conniving and sly than anyone suspected? Right or wrong. Are some secrets left buried? When I first read the description and started the book, I thought it would be similar to Paul Cleave’s Trust No One (with the thoughts of an Alzheimer’s patient, recalling a murder he may or may not have committed). BTW, I recommend. However, WHERE THE MEMORIES LIE, delivers a twist so unique—brilliantly crafted. So much more than a story of an Alzheimer’s patient and father. Even though the story begins with the doubt of suspicion with Tom’s confession— the whodunit, begins to slowly unravel like a dark seed sprouting throughout the family, as it infests their lives one by one, a web of deceit, suspicion, and doubt; trusting no one. The author keeps you guessing if Tom was really protecting someone else. This is where the book shines and hums, as the burden is passed along to other family members. What will they do with the newfound information? A choice. There are so many suspects; motives, clues, and things to lose. Everyone is guarding something. Secrets of the past. Was Katie a liar, manipulative, a thief, or toxic? Or was she just desperate, young, alone, and vulnerable, doing what she had to do, to survive; desiring a better life? Even though I fancied, Look Behind You, WHERE THE MEMORIES LIE was much richer, bolder, and thought-provoking, as Hodge delves into the emotions, lives, and feelings of each character, especially Olivia with doubt, fears, and suspicions-second guessing everyone around her. The title tells a story with many layers—the strong bonds of family. Where do the memories lie? Are they stored in a box, waiting for something to jar them loose from their secret hiding place? Hodge grabs you and hooks you with a riveting page-turner from page one to the end----finding yourself glued to the pages into the wee hours of the morning. “Truth and lies. Justice and complicity. It is an impossible choice. Is there a hazy line between right and wrong? Life is messy. There is no black or white, only blurred shades that intermingle and co-exist. What if you had the power to destroy the lives of those who mean more to you than anything in the world?” So much more here than a chilling psycho-thriller --- a complex, rich, poignant tale of ties and bonds of family, relationships, and lengths they will go to protect those they love. (with added mystery and intrigue). The novel could have taken so directions, and the way it was played out was clever. Really enjoying her subject material, crossing several genres. My only negative would be a different front cover, as feel it does not convey the true value of the book. Fans of Liane Moriarty, Diane Chamberlain, JoJo Moyes, Lisa Jewell, Carla Buckley, and Jane Green will enjoy the complexities! When I began the book, I really had not anticipating enjoying so much, exceeding my expectations, finding myself rushing to get back to the saga. You do not get bogged down, her writing is fresh, and crisp with events so realistic and scary, they could happen to anyone.
Well-developed characters; Loved the inspiration behind the story. Bloody good!
About the Author
Sibel Hodge is the author of #1 bestseller Look Behind You. Her Amber Fox Mysteries and romantic comedies, Fourteen Days Later and The Baby Trap, are international bestsellers on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks. She writes in an eclectic mix of genres, and she’s a passionate human and animal rights advocate. Her work has been nominated and shortlisted for numerous prizes, including the Harry Bowling Prize, the Yeovil Literary Prize, the Chapter One Promotions Novel Competition, The Romance Reviews’ prize for Best Novel with Romantic Elements, and Indie Book Bargains’ Best Indie Books of 2012.
She was the winner of Best Children’s Book by eFestival of Words 2013, and winner of Crime, Thrillers & Mystery | Book from a Series in the SpaSpa Book Awards 2013. Her novella Trafficked: The Diary of a Sex Slave has been listed as one of the top 40 books about human rights by Accredited Online Colleges. Website Twitter