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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Don't You Dare

Narrator: Hillary Huber

Dreamscape Media

ISBN: 9781639103058

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: 05/16/2022

Format: Other

My Rating: 3.5 Stars (ARC)

For fans of Riley Sager and Wendy Walker, Jessica Hamilton’s Don’t You Dare is a searing look at the things we are willing to do in the name of friendship; spine-tingling suspense filled with secrets and lies.

When best friends Hannah and Scarlett meet Thomas in college—the chemistry is instantaneous. They grow closer while playing the Daring Game, where each dare is riskier than the last. As the trio's friendship begins to cross boundaries between the platonic and the illicit, jealousy and secrets quickly develop. As tensions between the three grow, so do the stakes in the Daring Game, resulting in tragedy with Scarlett’s final dare to Thomas. When Thomas gets expelled from school and leaves without a trace, it seems like the Daring Game has finally ended.

Sixteen years later, Hannah is unhappy in marriage and in life. That is, of course, until she gets a mysterious letter about the Daring Game from none other than Thomas himself. With Scarlett out of the picture and a renewal of the dangerous game, the sparks begin to fly between them once more. Until the day Hannah and Thomas are called to the secret meeting place of the Daring Game, where they’re welcomed by a single dare—“to tell the truth.”

Someone else has joined the game and knows about their affair, going as far as leaving a cryptic message in Hannah’s house: Don’t You Dare. Hannah’s list of suspects is long: Could it be her nosy neighbor, Libby, who has a few secrets of her own? Or did her husband plan this as revenge for the torrid affair? Is Scarlett back and ready to play again?

The truth may set Hannah free—but only if she dares to risk everything she knows and loves.

My Review

Jessica Hamilton's sophomore novel, DON'T YOU DARE, is an intense, daring psychological thriller of friendship, revenge, and obsession — a darkly twisted romantic suspense — featuring a woman with a past of dark secrets and a dangerous, DARING GAME.

"Good people can do bad things, and in doing so, you dare to lose everything."

Hannah is married to Evan— a bored stay-at-home mom with two children who drinks too much. She receives a letter with a simple message: Daring Tree tomorrow at 12 pm—if you dare. Signed Thomas.

Sixteen years ago. The message has shifted Hannah into no-mans-land between the past and present. What would Thomas think of her now?

Hannah and Scarlett were BFFs in college. They met Thomas, and the three became friends and more. Scarlett came up with The Daring Game, where each would have to complete a dare with certain rules.

All the dares would be logged in a notebook that was to be kept in a hollowed-out tree at St. James Cemetery, the Daring Tree.

They started out simple, and then the dares became tougher, with more at stake.

Then one dare went TOO FAR.

Scarlett is an influencer, and Hannah stalks her social media now. She and Hannah were to travel to Australia together. Instead, there was Evan, the loss of her dad, and she became pregnant. Scarlett left without her.

In response to the letter, tempted—she goes for it. Soon they are playing THE DARING GAME again.

Things get out of control. Someone knows. Making them continue the game. They are in DANGER.

Who is the new person? Someone is watching and knows their secret past and the present. High stakes. Who has the most to lose?

From then to now, dark and twisty with adults behaving badly. This is more of a YA book with a Desperate Housewives-vibe and dysfunctional marriages. A cautionary tale—a dangerous game of obsession when the past refuses to remain buried. Not a favorite, but sure there will be a target audience who will enjoy it.

"Three's no such thing as a harmless dare. If you're not careful, you could lose everything."

Thanks to #CrookedLaneBooks for a gifted e-ARC via #NetGalley for review purposes.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: May 16, 2023

My Rating: 3.5 Stars


“Gripping, racy, and bone-chilling, Don't You Dare is a beautifully written domestic suspense with a brilliant balance of emotion and fear. Jessica Hamilton has created a raw, heart-shattering, tense story of lust and revenge in a game that spins out of control. The build-up kept me on tenterhooks and the climax left me reeling. This is a stupendous, sinister book you won't want to miss!”

—Samantha M. Bailey, USA

Today and #1 national bestselling author of Woman On The Edge and Watch Out For Her

“Don't You Dare is a sexy, twisted tale of friendship, obsession, and the kind of secrets that won’t stay buried. With a complex but relatable protagonist, an intriguing dual storyline, and sharp insights on marriage, motherhood, and community, Jessica Hamilton’s latest is a spicy page turner!”

—Robyn Harding, bestselling author of The Drowning Woman

“Steamy and devious, Don't You Dare is a compelling story of college friendships, secrets, and risks that circle back ever more dangerously. There's no escape when the game goes too far . . .”

—Roz Nay, national bestselling author of The Hunted

“A sexy, thrilling, addictive story that will have readers frantically turning pages, desperate to find out what's going on. Darkly romantic, with a twisty mystery—and a dangerous game—at its core, Don't You Dare is the kind of juicy, seductive read that needs to be in everyone's beach bag this summer. I dare you to put this book down—I couldn't!”

—Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, bestselling author of The Girls Are All So Nice Here

“Don’t You Dare is a captivating, propulsive thriller that I literally couldn’t put down. Don’t try to guess what will happen in this taut and poignant novel.”

—R.J. Jacobs, author of Always the First to Die

“I gobbled this novel up in one sitting and loved every minute of it. It's sexy, surprising, and full of suspense. The characters are vivid and compelling; the tension ratchets up a little more with each page. Hamilton's masterful storytelling will no doubt hold you hostage.”

—Jody Gehrman, author of The Girls Weekend and The Summer We Buried

About the Author

Photo Courtesy of Naomi Woodman

Jessica Hamilton was born in Australia but grew up in Ontario, Canada. She has lived and worked in the Czech Republic, Taiwan, India and Japan. She studied writing at the Humber School for Writers as well as George Brown College. She’s had stories printed in both print and online publications and was involved for many years with the Canadian Authors Association as program Coordinator for the Leacock/ Simcoe branch. What You Never Knew is her first novel. WEBSITE



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