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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Waitress


ISBN: 9781837562817

Publisher: Inkubator Books

Publication Date: 12/03/2023

Format: Paperback

My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC)



Secrets can be kept. If you’re willing to pay the price.


Anne Marie’s life isn’t easy. She’s a single mom in a dead-end waitressing job with a beater car and bills to pay. Adding to the pressure, her teenage son, Dave, is out of control, and no matter what she does, Anne Marie can’t seem to get through to him.


Then, out of the blue, Dave completely changes. He’s kind, he’s thoughtful, he helps out around the house and looks after his mom. Anne Marie can’t believe her luck.


Until she discovers the reason for her son’s sudden transformation – he’s done something really awful and he’s terrified he’ll be caught. Even worse, someone out there knows about it and they’re blackmailing him.


Anne Marie is desperate to protect her son and knows she has to somehow stop the blackmailer. But how?


As she considers her choices, Anne Marie realizes she may be taking the first steps on a path that will lead her straight to the gates of hell.


How far is she willing to go to save her only child?


The Waitress - a stunning psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page.








My Review


The queen of revenge plots, Emily Shiner, returns following The Better Mother with her latest wild twisty thriller, THE WAITRESS —A single mother takes desperate measures when she realizes her son is a monster.


Anne Marie has had a tough life but is about to get tougher. She got pregnant as a teen and did not graduate high school. Her parents were not supportive, and the baby's father was no good.


A single mom, alone raising her son, Dave (age 16). She wants a better life for him, but his behavior is uncontrollable. She sometimes works two shifts at the Early Bird Diner, has one friend at the diner, and her son disrespects her with his no-care attitude.


Dave is always in TROUBLE! The school always calls her for meetings, and her boss at the diner does not like it. He has warned her numerous times to stop bringing her personal life into work, or she will be without a job —then what will she do?


She drives a beat-up old Camry and barely has enough money for groceries. Dave is either acting out, skipping school, smoking dope, selling drugs, smoking at school, or something. He is sixteen and does not offer to help around the house or with expenses. He takes the car without permission and often damages property. He needs psychiatric help, or jail would be best for him.


His latest stunt, he took her car, and an elderly neighbor man winds up dead. Now the police are at her door. But there are so many dents in the car; what is one more?


To protect her son, Anne Marie gives the cop a fake alibi for her son. Then, the worst, someone saw something, and now comes blackmail letters. Dave even takes her diamond earrings—the only thing worth anything she has.


She says she will help him. Anne Marie finds that when her son is desperate and worried and needs her help, he is helpful around the house. This gives her hope. She likes this, similar to a drug addict. So, she needs to keep him upset, a fix, she thinks, to keep him in line. (absolute madness)!


The blackmailing escalates, and they come up with a plan. However, Dave does not follow the plan, and now there is another murder. Instead of turning her son in to get help, the two seem to be more concerned about getting rid of the blackmailer than feeling any remorse or guilt about people being murdered.


How is Dave supposed to be held accountable for his actions if his mother keeps trying to clean up his messes? How far will she go to protect her son?


The entire town knows he is a troublemaker, and Benji, the guy she was dating, breaks it off because he cannot take the son and all the drama.


In one way, you feel sorry for Anne Marie, but she wears rose-colored glasses when it comes to her son. This is fiction, but she needs to turn him over to the cops and stop enabling him.


Of course, with Emily's signature style, there is a wicked twist at the end. That was the best part. She does a great job of building suspense and the atmospheric setting in a dead-end town. This is one of the craziest books I have ever read. I wanted to call the cops on Dave, put him in prison, and send the mother to a head shrink! No likable characters here.


THE WAITRESS is entertaining, humorous, wild, and frustrating. What an imagination!


Do not take this one too seriously—it is more of a popcorn thriller, and, at times, the plot goes beyond believability. I guessed the blackmailer's identity but kept reading to discover how this would turn out. The novel would be great for a book club discussion with nature vs. nurture topics.


THE WAITRESS is for fans of Freida McFadden's The Perfect Son and Daniel Hurst —readers looking for an entertaining drama-filled wild domestic suspense instead of a serious complex whodunit mystery. A big fan of the author, she always surprises! #CoverLove


Every parent should read this book as a cautionary tale of what NOT to do.


Thanks to Inkubator Books and NetGalley for a digital review copy.



@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: Dec 3, 2023

My Rating: 4 Stars






About the Author



Emily Shiner grew up in Western North Carolina, and after going to college in Charlotte, returned to her beloved mountains to write novels that keep you up at night. She lives with her husband, daughter, two dogs, menagerie of chickens, and tens of thousands of bees. When not writing, she’s reading, hiking, or drinking copious amounts of tea while daydreaming about fall. WEBSITE






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