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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Just the Nicest Couple


ISBN: 9780778333111

Publisher: Park Row

Publication Date: 01/10/2023

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars ++ (ARC)



A husband’s disappearance links two couples in this twisty thriller from New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica


MARY Kubica’s Just the Nicest Couple is a masterfully written thriller about deception where we least expect it and the danger of a lie tumbling out of control.


"Taut and incredibly suspenseful, every moment is perfectly crafted to keep us wanting more. An engrossing, spine-tingling read!" —Ashley Audrain, New York Times bestselling author of The Push


A husband’s disappearance inextricably links two couples in this twisty thriller from New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica


Two couples, two close friends, one missing husband…


Jake Hayes is missing. This much is certain. At first, his wife, Nina, thinks he is blowing off steam at a friend’s house after their heated fight the night before. But then a day goes by. Two days. Five. And Jake is still nowhere to be found.


Lily Scott, Nina’s friend and coworker, thinks she may have been the last to see Jake before he went missing. After Lily confesses everything to her husband, Christian, the two decide that nobody can find out what happened leading up to Jake’s disappearance, especially not Nina. But Nina is out there looking for her husband, and she won’t stop until the truth is discovered.


Queen of suspense Mary Kubica delivers a high-octane, edge-of-your-seat thriller filled with delicious lies and shocking betrayals, and shows how even the deepest secrets will always find a way to the surface.









About the Author


Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many suspense novels, including THE GOOD GIRL, PRETTY BABY, DON’T YOU CRY, EVERY LAST LIE, WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT, THE OTHER MRS. and LOCAL WOMAN MISSING. A former high school history teacher, Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature.


She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children. Her first novel THE GOOD GIRL was an Indie Next pick in August of 2014, received a Strand Critics Nomination for Best First Novel and was a nominee in the Goodreads Choice Awards in Debut Goodreads Author and in Mystery & Thriller for 2014. LOCAL WOMAN MISSING was an Indie Next pick in May of 2021, a nominee in the Goodreads Choice Awards in Mystery & Thriller for 2021, and a finalist for an Audie Award. Mary’s novels have been selected as Amazon Best Books of the Month and have been LibraryReads selections. They’ve been translated into over thirty languages and have sold over two million copies worldwide. She’s been described as “a helluva storyteller,” (Kirkus Reviews) and “a writer of vice-like control,” (Chicago Tribune), and her novels have been praised as “hypnotic” (People) and “thrilling and illuminating” (Los Angeles Times).


She is currently working on her next novel. WEBSITE





Praise


“Just the Nicest Couple is Mary Kubica at her twisty, mysterious best. Every character brims with secrets. Every page holds a surprise. It's entirely unputdownable and everything a reader is looking for in their next read.” —Sally Hepworth, New York Times bestselling author of The Younger Wife

“You won’t know who to trust in Just the Nicest Couple, a domestic thrill-ride which grabs you on the first page and doesn’t let go until you reach the end. A riveting tale about marriage, trust, and secrets, this is Mary Kubica at her best.”

—Laura Dave, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Thing He Told Me


"In Just the Nicest Couple, Mary Kubica is writing at the top of her game. She wastes no time dropping her characters into an impossible situation and then ratchets up the tension, one twist after another, until the last, shocking conclusion. Just the Nicest Couple is propulsive, addictive, and impossible to put down. But be warned: nothing — and no one — is as they seem."

—Julie Clark, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Flight

"Rich with detail and a mounting, almost suffocating sense of dread, Just the Nicest Couple is a dark and twisted exploration of loyalty, family, and how far we’ll go to protect the ones we love." —Andrea Bartz, New York Times bestselling author of We Were Never Here


“Mary Kubica’s Just the Nicest Couple is a masterfully written thriller about deception where we least expect it and the danger of a lie tumbling out of control. Taut and incredibly suspenseful, every moment is perfectly crafted to keep us wanting more. An engrossing, spine-tingling read!

—Ashley Audrain, New York Times bestselling author of The Push


"Kubica is a master of unnerving domestic thrillers. Fans will devour [Just the Nicest Couple] in one sitting. Booklist











Exceptional Authors. Standout Books. Elevator Talk.


INTRIGUING QUESTIONS. INQUIRING READERS WANT TO KNOW

Behind the Book



Welcome to 2023! January #AuthorElevatorSeries. We are super excited to have back with us one of my favorite authors — New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica and her eighth novel, the highly anticipated domestic thriller— JUST THE NICEST COUPLE.

I have been a huge fan of Mary's since her debut, The Good Girl, and have read all her books since—all being five stars and on my top books list each year! Mary joined us in 2018 when I started the #AuthorElevatorSeries with WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT, and honored to have her back with us today. Let's dive in.


Welcome, Mary!



Q. Give us your best ELEVATOR PITCH for JUST THE NICEST COUPLE.



MK: JUST THE NICEST COUPLE is a story of two couples, Christian and Lily, and Nina and Jake. When Jake goes missing, Lily believes she was the last one to see him before the disappearance. She confesses to her husband, Christian, what happened, which ultimately sets off a cat and mouse game between one woman desperate to find her missing husband and another couple who will do anything to keep the truth from coming out. It’s the kind of book that makes you ask yourself how far you’d go to protect someone you love, and if you would hurt a friend to save yourself.



Q. SETTING: Tell us more about the book setting and why you selected it.



MK: JUST THE NICEST COUPLE is set in an unnamed suburb of Chicago, which is where I’m from. Though much of the book takes places in the couples’ homes and in the high school where Lily and Nina both work, an important element is set in a large, wooded forest preserve, inspired in part by a place known as Waterfall Glen, where I’ve trained for marathons. It beautiful, densely wooded with a limestone path that weaves between forests and beside ponds, and is filled with wildlife (go early in the morning and you will see dozens of deer). I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the western suburbs of Chicago – just be sure you don’t run into any characters from this book while you’re there!



Q. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: What fantastic and complex characters! Your favorite character to write, and/or most challenging?



MK: Christian was my favorite to write. He and Nina are the narrators and one might think I’d enjoy writing Nina more – seeing that she’s a woman and a teacher (I, too, am a former teacher), she and I might have more in common – but there is something about Christian’s deep devotion to his wife and unborn child, the fact that he will do anything and everything to protect them, that spoke to me. Nina was a harder character for me to truly grasp. She comes off as a bit brash at the beginning and it takes a while to crack her tough outer shell to discover who she is inside.



Q. WRITING: Do you have a favorite chapter or scene in the novel you enjoyed writing the most?


MK: Readers might question my morals after this, but there is one scene toward the end of the book where Christian runs into Nina just outside his home. I don’t want to give too much away and so am being intentionally vague, but once you’ve had a chance to read the book, you’ll know what I mean! It’s dark and a little shocking. I deliberated for days about how to write this scene, but absolutely loved the way it came together in the end. I hope readers will love it too.



Q. TOPICS: Name 1-3 topics or themes addressed in the novel?


MK: Aging parents, infertility and what we’ll do to save the ones we love.



Q. GENRE: You are known as the “queen of suspense” with your winning signature style. What continues to draw you to this genre?



MK: I’m not a plotter at all. I never know what my characters will do or how my plots will go until I’m writing a scene. I suppose it’s the surprise that keeps me intrigued. I like to believe the shock I feel at coming up with a plot twist is the same that readers feel when they get to it in the book. It’s also the readers who keep drawing me back, because suspense readers are the best!



Now, for more about Mary!


"Behind the Author"



BIRTH STATE? or (Country)

Illinois


CURRENT STATE?

Illinois


ZODIAC SIGN?

Pisces


FAVORITE THING ABOUT WHERE YOU RESIDE?

My family is here


FAVORITE COLOR?

Gray


MORNING/NIGHT PERSON?

Morning


FAVORITE HOBBY?

Running


FAVORITE SONG OR ARTIST?

Damien Rice


FAVORITE HOLIDAY OR SEASON?

Fall


FAVORITE READING FORMAT?

Paperback


FAVORITE TV SERIES? (Or Movie/Video) binge-watch, series, etc.?

The Killing


YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO WRITE?

At home


WHAT BOOK IS CURRENTLY ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND OR READING LIST OR BOOK YOU WOULD RECOMMEND?

IT’S ONE OF US by J.T. Ellison


DESCRIBE ONE THING ON YOUR DESK, CURRENTLY?

A picture of my cat


WHICH DO YOU ENJOY WRITING MORE: DIALOGUE OR INTERNAL THOUGHTS?

Internal thoughts


DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE WRITING?

No, I prefer it to be quiet when I write


YOUR FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM? (Or would you prefer none of them)?

Instagram


HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN?

8


NAME ONE THING YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF TO BE BAD AT?

Singing


INTROVERT OR EXTROVERT?

Introvert


THE ONE THING YOU’VE LEARNED YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT IN A QUARANTINE?

Friends. I missed seeing them during the pandemic and texts, phone and Zoom calls just aren’t the same as being with someone in person.


A FAVORITE INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE?

So many, but Page 158 Books is high among my favorites.


TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT YOUR READERS MAY NOT KNOW.

I am a vegetarian


WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?

Animal welfare


WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR?

Being a good, kind person


WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS LIKE?

Pantser


WINE, MIXED DRINK, BEER OR OTHER?

Wine


FIRST CAR?

Honda Civic


COFFEE OR TEA?

Coffee


PEN OR PENCIL?

Pencil


EARLY OR LATE?

Always early


BEST PART OF BEING AN AUTHOR?

The readers


GO TO A PARTY, OR A QUIET EVENING AT HOME?

Quiet evening at home


FAVORITE CHILDHOOD BOOK?

The Eyes of the Amaryllis by Natalie Babbitt


NAME SOMETHING YOU FEAR?

Small, enclosed spaces. I have a lot of trouble taking my own car through the car wash.


IF YOUR FOOD IS BAD AT A RESTAURANT, DO YOU SAY SOMETHING?

Absolutely not


WHEN THINGS BREAK, DO YOU PREFER TO FIX THEM OR REPLACE THEM?

Replace them



Thank you, Mary, for spending time with us today!







My Review


The Queen of suspense, Mary Kubica, (fav author) returns following Local Woman Missing with her latest, JUST THE NICEST COUPLE—a gripping twisty domestic suspense where the line between right and wrong is blurred, and no one is as they appear.


Two couples, two close friends, one missing husband…


A whodunnit domestic suspense thriller that will keep you guessing until the final page!

Meet the nicest couple—Lily and Christian Scott. Lily is an algebra teacher at the local Chicago suburban school, and her husband is a market research analyst. They have had several miscarriages, and she is currently pregnant.


Nina Hayes is an English teacher at the same school as Lily and is married to Jake, a surgeon. They are friends.


Nina is distracted and does not have time to be there for her husband's every whim. Her mother is going blind, and they recently found a mass in her left breast. They will need a biopsy to see if it is malignant or benign.


Jake and Nina argue, and he leaves. Jake is not so nice. He does not like her spending so much time with her mom and the stresses of his patients. She thinks he is just blowing off steam; however, he does not answer his phone, and then the hospital calls and says he has not been in several days later.


Now she is worried. He is missing. There is an investigation. Where is he?


From the POVs of Christian and Nina, we learn about an episode in Langley Woods. Lily comes clean (is she telling the whole truth?) with Christian that Jake tried to attack her, and to protect herself, she hit him with a rock and ran.


Christian will do anything to protect his wife and his unborn child.


To do so, they must go to the trails and see if they can find the body or any evidence. However, they cannot find him or any evidence. However, his car is parked there, so they must move it, which involves Christian breaking into Nina's house to get the key. This involves a lot of sneaking around and risk-taking.


Later the body is found in the woods by the authorities. They find the car. He was shot. However, Lily knows she did not kill him. So who murdered Jake? Lily also does not think about her lost earring.


There is a bit of a cat-and-mouse game going on between Christian and Nina. Nina thinks Christian killed him. But she needs proof.


Everyone is a suspect. Suspicion, betrayal, and dark secrets abound —Hidden just beneath the surface of a seemingly perfect suburban life. How far do we go to protect the family?


Kubica keeps you turning the pages into the wee hours of the morning. This was my birthday read, and what a treat! I read it in one sitting. Readers will become engrossed in the intense mystery. What goes on behind closed doors? Do we know the people close to us as well as we think?


The author has a talent for maneuvering multi-storylines and going behind closed doors in suburban neighborhoods, and unraveling dark secrets, lies, and deceit. Well-crafted, you will not anticipate the surprisingly satisfying conclusion.

I have been a fan of the Mary's since her debut and have read every book. Each one is 5 Stars and lands on my year's top books. Kubica fans will enjoy this one, as well as fans of author BA Paris.


INTERVIEW: Stay tuned for my upcoming #AuthorElevatorSeries Interview with Mary on Pub day, Jan 10, 2023, where we go behind the scenes of the book and the author! Do not miss this one.


Thank you to #ParkRowBooks and #Netgalley for the gifted e-ARC.


@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 ⭐ STARS +

Pub Date: Jan 10, 2023

Jan 2023 Must-Read Books



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