Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser, 3 Stars

Okay, so before we talk about the book I read, or I lament about the weather (okay, I promised I’m done with this), can we just say OMG, they caught the Golden State Killer?!?

I reviewed the late Michelle McNamara’s book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark recently here, but I’ve really gotten into the back story for the past year or so. The book is a culmination of Michelle’s work to solve the case of the EAR (East Area Rapist) and Original Night Stalker, who she named The Golden State Killer, who raped and murdered women and couples in California from 1976-1986.

McNamara became obsessed with the case in 2007 and it became her life’s work to investigate, write a book and track down the killer. Sadly, it became her life’s work as she died of a heart condition in her sleep last year.

But really guys, it sends chills down my spine that they caught the guy! McNamara always thought he would be caught. Even saying in her book,

“One day soon, you’ll hear a car pull up to your curb, an engine cut out. You’ll hear footsteps coming up your front walk. The doorbell rings. No side gates are left open. You’re long past leaping over a fence. Take one of your hyper, gulping breaths. Clench your teeth. Inch timidly toward the insistent bell. This is how it ends for you.”

It’s just so amazing that they found him and it really brings Michelle’s work and legacy full circle. How ’bout them apples!!!

But on to today’s review. It took me a while to get into this one. And I’m not really sure if it’s the book, or me. Lately this has been an issue for me. And this is only the fourth book I’ve reviewed on my blog in April! I promise to do better in May.

From the Publisher:

When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.

By Monday morning, one of them is gone.

Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own.

As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to re-examine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.

My Review:

Not That I Could Tell came highly recommended (at least I consider any Book of the Month selection to be worth a look), and the premise with how the book starts, a group of neighborhood women gathered one evening around a fire with alcohol. Well, lets just say I maybe have experienced that once or twice in my life.

I really like the main character Clara and identified with her. She is an extremely smart, capable and well-educated stay-at-home-mom who perhaps feels a little under utilized in her current role (hello, that’s soooo me! lol). But above all she wants to raise well-rounded children and she really builds up her friends and neighbors.

So, when one of the, Kristin, goes missing, the whole neighborhood is in a tizzy. No one knows what to think or who to suspect. And as details about Kristin’s life come out that no one knew, everyone starts to wonder if they knew her or her husband, Paul, at all.

This one was not a crazy page-turner, but it was an interesting and reflective book. I found it less to be a thriller, although some of those elements are present, but more to be a slice-of-life type book with a mystery at its center. It made me think about how I interact with my neighbors and the people in my community, and what would happen if we found ourselves in a similar situation.

I’d definitely recommend it to those looking for an easy read with a bit of mystery.

Get your copy:

Indiebound

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