THE GOOD GIRL by Mary Kubica

Publisher: Mira
Release Date: July 29, 2014
Source: Kindle purchase
Rating: ★★★★½

“I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”

One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.

When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.

An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a propulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems.

I enjoyed reviewing Mary Kubica’s second novel, PRETTY BABY, so I decided to give her first book a try. Loved it! (Maybe even a smidge more than PRETTY BABY.) I would describe THE GOOD GIRL as subtle suspense, with a uniquely constructed plot and an intriguing story.

Mia, the twenty-something daughter of a rich Chicago judge, is kidnapped. The hired kidnapper, Colin, has a change of heart and hides her away in a cabin instead of giving her to his employers as planned. At the same time, Mia’s distraught mother (Eve) and a police detective (Gabe) search tirelessly to find out what became of Mia.

The bulk of the story is told by Eve, Gabe, and Colin in alternating viewpoints, as well as switching between a “Before” and an “After.” Setting the plot up this way made me even more curious about what ultimately happened in the cabin. The characters are well developed, and the author gives the right amount of backstory to each one so we know what brought them to this place and time.

I thought the twist at the end was so good. Well, sad and emotional, but also good. I certainly wasn’t expecting it.

PRETTY BABY by Mary Kubica

Publisher: Mira
Released: July 28, 2015
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★

A chance encounter sparks an unrelenting web of lies in this stunning new psychological thriller from national bestselling author Mary Kubica.

She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can’t get the girl out of her head…

Heidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal—or worse. But despite her family’s objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home.

Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues into Willow’s past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she’s willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.

This is the first book by Mary Kubica that I’ve read, and after finishing this one I’m looking forward to reading her other books in my TBR stack. Good stuff! PRETTY BABY is filled with characters that you’re never really sure about. They seem one way on the surface, but what’s hiding underneath?

The story is told from the point of view of three characters: Heidi, the over-the-top, socially conscious do-gooder; Willow, the homeless girl with a baby who Heidi brings home; and Chris, Heidi’s fed up, workaholic husband. Heidi’s stray cats are one thing, but a stranger in their home who might be dangerous is more than Chris can take. While Chris researches who in the heck this girl could be, the whole situation starts to have an interesting effect on Heidi. Woven into that is Willow’s heart wrenching story.

This book contains some dark subject matter, and yep, it’s very sad, but at the same time I couldn’t put it down. It’s fast paced with memorable, complex characters, and some surprise twists to keep you on your toes. I love emotional suspense/thrillers, and PRETTY BABY fits the bill perfectly.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in excchange for an honest review.