My Dear Kittens! For today, I have a pretty creepy read for you. I read my first C.J. Tudor book a few weeks ago and loved it so much that I snapped up another one right away. I’m very grateful for ebooks right now, even if I do get a headache when I read too many hours in that format. If you’re looking for a read to take you away from all of this but still keep you in a dark place, then this would be a good choice. This is a relatively new release and Tudor doesn’t have a huge backlist, but having read 2 of her titles now, I’ll be adding her to my list of must-read authors. Stay well and enjoy reading!
Title: The Other People
Author: C.J. Tudor
Author website: https://www.facebook.com/CJTudorOfficial/
Publisher: Ballantine Books (a Random House imprint)
Publish date: January 28th, 2020
Gabriel is stuck in traffic on his way home when his life changes forever. In the car ahead of him he gets a fleeting glimpse of a young girl. She looks exactly like his daughter, Izzy, and she seems frightened. Gabe makes a split second decision to pursue the car through the traffic, but eventually loses track of the vehicle and convinces himself that it could not have been Izzy. He pulls over at a service station to call home and confirm that all is well, but when the police answer the phone, they tell him that something terrible has happened to his wife and his daughter.
Despite the police’s insistence that both his wife and daughter died that day, with both of their bodies recovered at the scene, Gabe refuses to believe that Izzy is dead. After all, he knows now that he could have seen her that day on the interstate. Consumed with guilt for giving up the chase then, Gabe now spends his days driving up and down the interstates, looking for that car and any other sign of his daughter. Along the way he comes into contact with a host of characters, some who seem willing to help him for reasons unknown, and some who believe he is just a hopeless man with an obsession.
When Gabe starts uncovering the truth of what happened that day, he falls down a rabbit hole that will entangle half a dozen lives. His wife is dead. Izzy must be alive. People he trusted have lied to him and a mysterious group known only on the Dark Web as the Other People, is coming after him. The vigilante group has a reputation for settling scores, and the more he digs into them, the more trouble he finds.
Why I liked the book:
The book is structured in a way that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. We get chapters from the perspectives of different characters. At first, the only character whose backstory we really know is Gabe, but we are also given the perspectives of a woman named Fran who travels with a strange girl named Alice, as well as the story of a waitress named Katie who works at one of the travel stops that Gabe frequents. As with all good thrillers, their stories seem entirely separate to begin with, but they twine together and form an entirely coherent storyline by the end.
In particular, I really love how many chapters drop a major clue or plot twist in the last sentence. It made it very difficult to stop reading at any one point because I was dying to know how each revelation would impact the overall story.
I also love a good creepy element, and the references to Alice’s narcolepsy and the beach and the strange girl in the bed kept me wondering if the supernatural would play deeply in the story.
Lastly, the Other People vigilante group make great villains. With an underground shady internet group, you never know who is with them, which means that the main characters literally have no one they can trust.
Disclaimer: No disclaimer needed. I borrowed an electronic copy of this title from my library’s digital collection.
My library rating:
This book is a no-brainer recommendation for mystery and thriller lovers, but if I was recommending it to a stranger who wasn’t as familiar with the world of mysteries and thrillers, I probably wouldn’t start with this title. There’s a fair bit of violence and a few actual and attempted murders. It doesn’t really go deep enough into difficult subject matter to be a good book club selection (unless it’s a mystery/thriller book club).
3 glasses of lemonade= a book that you could recommend to coworkers and friends you don’t know very well.
My personal preference rating: I gave this one five stars. I love a good dark mystery. I didn’t guess the twists (in fact I was pretty far off about a few things). This is a solid novel for my tastes.