Length: 419 pages
Setting: mostly North Carthage, Missouri, with a bit in NYC, present day
Interest: Linda Holmes, from the podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, raved about the book earlier this year. I’m always on the lookout for non-science fiction/fantasy books to add to my reading list (sci fi and fantasy books are easy to find, not that I don’t want to read them).
Summary: WARNING – if you have any desire to read this book without knowing the twist, don’t read the summary or even my final thoughts. The twist comes too early in the book to leave it out of the discussion of the book.
Nick and Amy were writers in NYC when they got married, but they’ve both been laid off. They move back to Nick’s home town of North Carthage, Missouri, to help care for Nick’s dying mother. Their marriage starts to deteriorate, with Nick cheating on Amy with a college student, until the point that Amy disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary. All signs point to Nick killing Amy. Turns out, Amy stage the whole thing, planning for over a year on how to frame Nick for her murder, so he could finally pay for his mistakes. Amy’s plans for hiding out are broken up when her money is stolen. She goes to an old beau, who still worships her, for help but finds she can’t control him like she could Nick. So, she kills him and stages a kidnap/rape scenario so he would be blamed, and then goes back to Nick. Nick tries to expose her until he discovers she’s pregnant. At that point, he gives up and promises to be the perfect husband and father.
Final thoughts: A seriously twisted book. In the first section, we see the situation Amy set up, mostly from the viewpoint of Amy’s diary. Sure, Nick protests he didn’t do it, but more and more we think Nick’s the bad guy. Then we find out Amy’s alive and set the whole thing up and is willing to do some pretty serious harm to herself to sell her story. She pretty much is a pathological liar, cooking up a whole personality to fit the situation, and discarding it when she gets bored (and woe to someone who discards her first). It’s not like Nick is a golden boy, either, but he’s just your average weasel, while she is in a whole different category of crazy. They both come to realize they are at their best when trying to outfox the other.
There are some adult situations and language in the book, so I recommend the book for mature audiences only.
Title comes from: Amy’s disappearance is the driving plot point.
Reading challenges fulfilled: 2/100 in Read-a-Latte challenge, G in A-Z reading challenge, and the bingo square “1 book everyone but me has read”. It also fulfills the January Mini Challenge hosted by Books, Babies and Beyond – Amy perfectly fits the category of “two-faced”, if not more.
If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!