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  • Mandy McHugh

You Will Never Know, SA Prentiss: A Review

I requested this book because of the blurb and the eerie cover.

When the star wrester for Warner High is found murdered in the woods, everyone in town is affected, and the hunt for the killer ensues. Ted and Jessica, however, know that their respective children, Craig and Emma, weren't home when the murder happened, and there's evidence that could directly link them to the crime. What follows is a twisty family murder mystery that raises the question of how far a parent would go to protect their child. There was much about this book that I liked. First, the premise itself felt fresh. I can't remember the last time I read a book with such an interesting family dynamic, watching the bond they thought they could believe in unravel. Several times while reading I got Cruel Intentions vibes. Shifting power structures, suspicions abound, unthinkable acts of betrayal and cruelty--Prentiss captured a vicious sense of protection in an absolutely normal family. Blended, regular jobs, relatable problems--and you're pretty sure one of them is guilty of murder. Justifiable or nefarious, Prentiss keeps the doubt pointed until the very last page. On the whole, I didn't love any of the characters; in fact, I found most of them despicable in their own ways, and I wasn't really rooting for anyone. Even the supporting characters are portrayed as evil, cold-hearted, annoying, or malicious. Everyone has a stake in the game, and we see the worst in all of the characters shining through with grave clarity. At times, this just didn't work for me. and I found myself having to suspend disbelief in a few conversations. That's not to say they're not interesting or that I wanted to like them more, but because I got a clear idea of how cutthroat and ruthless most of them were, the twists weren't as unexpected because I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. And it does--there are plenty of twists and big reveals that are successful for the most part, especially hard to do given the small-town setting. Overall, You Will Never Know is a gripping, gritty, bleak thriller with dark motives and an interesting narrative frame work. I'd recommend to fans of Gillian Flynn, Cruel Intentions, or titles with morally ambiguous characters. Thank you to Penzler and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.

 

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