Since She Went Away
By: David Bell
Publication Date: 6/21/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars From David Bell—bestselling author of Somebody I Used to Know and The Forgotten Girl—comes a chilling novel of guilt, regret, and a past which refuses to die... Three months earlier, Jenna Springer was supposed to meet her lifelong best friend Celia. But when Jenna arrived late, she found that Celia had disappeared—and hasn’t been seen again. Jenna has blamed herself for her friend’s disappearance every single day since then. The only piece of evidence is a lone diamond earring found where Celia and Jenna were planning to meet, leading the national media to dub Celia “The Diamond Mom.” And even though Jenna has obsessively surfed message boards devoted to missing persons cases, she is no closer to finding any answers—or easing her guilt. But when her son’s new girlfriend—who suddenly arrived in town without a past—disappears, a stricken Jenna begins to unwind the tangled truth behind Celia’s tragedy. And as long-buried secrets finally come to light, she discovers how completely lives can be shattered by a few simple lies.
A special thank you to Penguin Berkley and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Master storyteller, David J. Bell returns following Somebody I Used to Know (2015) with another enthralling suspense mystery thriller, SINCE SHE WENT AWAY —a mother finds herself caught in the middle of two crime investigations. Her best friend’s disappearance, and her son’s new girlfriend’s past and present. The aftermath of a tragedy— long-hidden family dark secrets, and lies. Jenna Barton had called Celia Waters, her best friend since high school, to meet her at the park in the small Kentucky town of Hawks Mill. Jenna was delayed and her friend just disappeared. It has been months and no word. Jenna is guilt ridden and desperate to find answers. Her body has yet to be found. Murder? Kidnapping? Motive? She is constantly being scrutinized by the media, the cops, and social media online message boards, in her search for answers. Mystery, lies, infidelity, and secrets surrounding Celia, her husband Ian, and daughter Ursula. Slowly unraveling the events leading up to the disappearance. Jenna and Ian also have a complex relationship, when they dated back in high school, and later Celia married Ian. They belong to country clubs and Ursula hangs out with the rich kids. One of Celia’s diamond earrings was left at Caldwell Park (the designated meeting place); therefore, dubbed as “The Diamond Mom.” Jenna is a single mom with teen son, Jared, age fifteen. They of course were close friends with Celia and daughter, Ursula (also fifteen), when the kids were younger. However, now they have drifted apart over the years, due to their social class, among other reasons. Jared is quite inexperienced with girls, with no male role models in his life. However, falls hard for a new girl in town, Tabitha (Natalie). She has natural beauty, even though poor, and is very secretive about her family. Her dad is very strict, and she is not allowed hardly out of the house. Tabitha is very private. Economically disadvantaged. Mystery and intrigue surrounding this family. Where is the absentee mother, and why the disappearing act? Something is not right about the dad. What is he hiding? Is she in danger? Readers hear from Jenna and Jared — While Jenna is sleuthing and working with detectives, and crazies on online chat boards seeking answers about Celia, Jared is putting himself in danger, dealing with bullies, while seeking answers to the mystery surrounding his new love and her strange father. Could the father be a criminal, hiding from the law? The notion of the two things, could they be related? Celia’s disappearance and Tabitha’s? Other murders—men and women. Teens and adults are missing. Real live monsters. Ruined families. Connections. How are they connected? With a likable Detective Naomi Poole, a not so likable reporter, and a guest appearance from the online handler Domino55, make for an intriguing cast of secondary characters. Cleverly crafted, the author keeps readers glued to the pages, racing to the explosive and satisfying finale-- the two mysteries converge. It is like reading two books in one! Betrayal, lies, secrets, blackmail, and deceit. Equal parts mystery, psychological, contemporary, domestic suspense, and crime thriller. A page-turner full of unexpected twists and surprises! Everyone has deeply buried secrets. Each choice made leading up to the tragedies has consequences. The paths people take. Readers will be dying to solve the mystery (s)—to discover how these two complex separate story lines can possibly connect. (a rollercoaster ride) The second one is as tantalizing as the first, keeping you on the edge-of-your seat! My fifth book by Bell — Razor-sharp, shocking, and a deliciously good mystery thriller. He just keeps getting better!Where nothing is as it appears. Fans of Carla Buckley will appreciate the in depth exploration of families; adults, teens, friends; their complexities. Also suitable for the YA audience. Love the cover and an ideal title! “You have to live with whatever consequences you create.”
“David Bell is a natural storyteller and a superb writer…Mr. Bell understands the hearts and minds of ordinary and not so ordinary people, and his keen insights add a powerful dimension to his crisp writing.”—Nelson DeMille, #1
New York Times bestselling author
"David Bell writes spellbinding and gripping thrillers that get under your skin and refuse to let go."—Linwood Barclay, New York Times and #1 international bestselling author
"A master.”—John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author“One of the brightest and best crime fiction writers of our time.”—Suspense Magazine
“Distinctive characters and a smartly crafted plot lift this well above the genre average.”—Publishers Weekly“A natural storyteller and a superb writer.”—#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Nelson DeMille
About the Author
David Bell is a bestselling and award-winning author whose work has been translated into six languages. He’s currently an associate professor of English at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He received an MA in creative writing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a PhD in American literature and creative writing from the University of Cincinnati. His previous novels are Somebody I Used to Know, The Forgotten Girl, Never Come Back, The Hiding Place, and Cemetery Girl. Read More