Stars: 2.5 out of 5.
The blurb for this book is what drew me in, and for the first 50% of the book I was a happy camper joyfully following the story and getting creeped out by the excellent descriptions… Then the book started to drag. The descriptions were still excellent, but there was no “meat” to them. There are episodes that didn’t bring anything to the story but took up extra pages, like when Vera drives several towns over to go to a bar… only to leave because the bartender is too chatty. That added nothing to the overall story or Vera’s character that we didn’t’ already know. And of course the ending was a total miss for me. I expected a twist, but what the author choose for a twist simply didn’t work and made no sense, at least for me.
So this leaves me with a sense of frustration and disappointment. I was ready to love this book to pieces and give it my first 5 stars of 2024… then I was so mad I almost 1-stared it. But upon reflection and some cooling down, I will give it 2.5 stars for the excellent first half.
I think the biggest problem is that there are no good people in this story. Vera is an awful person. The more you read about her, the less you want to spend time with her. I mean it’s one thing to have mixed feelings about how you should feel about your father. On one hand, he is a serial killer that literally tortured and murdered people in the basement of his house. On the other hand, he is still your dad, and he loved you when your mother really didn’t. So I understand why Vera still loves him and clings to her memories of him, and why she feels guilty about it.
But as the book progresses and you discover more and more of Vera’s past, things turn very creepy and plain wrong. Just reading about her childhood and her reactions to what her father did made me feel dirty on the inside. Not a feeling I particularly enjoy, thank you very much. Also, not a character I want to root for. And I cared less and less for Vera the more the book progressed, so I quickly lost interest.
All the other characters are just as awful and honestly got everything they deserved, but also, not interesting to follow along with. So this left me with a protagonist I ended up hating and a story I grew more and more disinterested in. So this was a miss for me.
PS: I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.