“Every time she fell out of love with him, he saw it happen and waited it out. He never stopped loving her, even those times when he felt deeply hurt and betrayed by her, even in that bad year when they talked about separating, he’d just gone along with it, waiting for her to come back to him, thanking God and his dad up above each time she did.”
The Delaneys are a tennis fixture in their community. They ran a successful tennis academy for years. The parents, Stan and Joy, have such great chemistry and still beat all their friends in tennis even though they’re retired. After selling their academy, they’re bored and miserable. They’re not the type of couple to have fun doing nothing or to have fun traveling so they’re still trying to discover what getting old means for them.
Their adult children – Logan, Amy, Brooke and Troy, are also trying to figure out what life after tennis looks like for them as well, as they never quite made it to being professional. They’re all deeply affected in one way or another by their lives as tennis young stars and are trying to process their feelings towards the sport and having their parents as coaches.
“That was the secret of a happy marriage: step away from the rage.”
One night, a stranger who introduces herself as Savannah, comes knocking on their door completely bruised up and bleeding claiming her boyfriend hit her. Joy and Stan let her in and let her stay with them believing she is escaping a domestic violence situation to the complete dismay of their children.
Later, when Joy disappears out of the blue, and Savannah is nowhere to be found, the police question the only other person left in the house – Stan. His kids are divided on if he did it or not. Every single detail in their past is being called into question and reexamined in the light of their mother’s disappearance. Moriarty takes us through the history of this family, alternating between flashbacks and the present as we try to figure out what happened to Joy.
“Once you’ve hit a ball there’s no point watching to see where it’s going. You can’t change its flight path now. You have to think about your next move. Not what you should have done. What you do now.”
My first foray into Moriarty was What Alice Forgot – a book I absolutely loved and adored. Since then though, all her other insanely popular books have missed the mark for me, especially the last two. I wasn’t going to read anymore Moriarty because I was tired of chasing the high I got from What Alice Forgot and never finding it. But, I decided to pick this one up because the person who recommended it said they didn’t like her two previous books either. I think she was right. This book is funny, and even though it’s suspenseful it never feels heavy or overdone. It’s just plain good.
“There was nothing worse than having to feel sorry for people who had wronged you. You don’t want lottery wins for your enemies, but you don’t want tragedies for them either. Then they got the upper hand”
If you’re not a fan of alternating timelines then this book is not for you as Moriarty alternates the chapters between flashbacks and the present. I really enjoy stories about dysfunctional families where there’s no abuse or intent to do actual harm exists. I think sometimes just being a family filled with very different personalities and interpretations of your childhood, leads to dysfunction. It’s a fascinating premise to look back at your life and all the little events that shaped it, with a new eye because now you’re looking for if your father could have murdered your mother. Suddenly every single action or mistake they’ve ever made is suddenly seen in a sinister light.
Moriarty’s straightforward writing style serves this book well. The way she makes these astute observations about the Delaneys while peeling back the layers of their relationships to each other and injecting the right dose of humor is impeccable and sometimes makes you forget that you’re actually reading a murder suspense book.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I don’t know if I rated this highly because I was surprised that I was enjoying a Moriarty book after swearing off reading her, but I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads.
Have you read this one? Let us know in the comments!