I’ve read a couple of books by Wendy Walker now (All is Not Forgotten and Emma in the Night giving them 4 and 4.5 stars respectively!) and after several weeks of minimal reading and a lot of university assignment angst her latest, Don’t Look for Me was exactly what I was in the mood to read.
I settled into the bathtub and read it in an easy and entertaining sitting. There were a couple of moments that made me worry it was going to be too predictable but Walker throws in a few curves to avoid some of the usual cliches.
One night, Molly Clarke walked away from her life.
She doesn't want to be found.
Or at least, that's the story.
The car abandoned miles from home.
The note found at a nearby hotel.
The shattered family that couldn’t be put back together.
They called it a “walk away.”
It happens all the time.
Women disappear, desperate to leave their lives behind and start over.
But is that what really happened to Molly Clarke?
We only meet Molly very briefly before she disappears. I had thought Walker might keep us guessing for a while but readers learn pretty much straight away what happens to her. It takes Molly herself a little while longer to understand her fate but once she does I really liked the realistic way Walker portrays her thoughts and actions.
Molly is really quite desolate on the day she disappears and I wonder if it might not have worked well to keep we readers in the dark for longer. To hold off on revealing the chapters featuring her experience (after her car runs out of fuel) until later in the novel. It would add to the suspense because the Molly we meet on the day she goes missing is certainly feeling as if her family would be relieved if she wasn’t to return home.
I actually felt quite sad for her…
Am I too sensitive? Am I just being too me, too Molly? I hear these thoughts with John’s voice. Stop being so Molly. He has come to use my name as an adjective that allows him to dismiss me.
It would also have put us in the same position as her daughter Nicole, who doesn’t believe her mother would have disappeared willingly. Molly’s husband is happy to accept the police’s ‘walk-away’ verdict but Nicole is determined to look deeper.
Walker moves us back and forth between Molly and Nicole. Before we meet the 21 year old we’ve already heard about the fight the pair had the morning Molly disappeared and the fact Nicole has been acting out BIG TIME since the death of her younger sister.
Walker gives us some false leads and red herrings so we don’t quite know who to trust. There’s also a smidge of romance on offer for Nicole so if you’re like me you’re hoping one of the potential beaus isn’t a psychopath.
I appreciated the conclusion offered a twist or two and wasn’t eked out too much. In fact I almost felt as if it was rushed a little… there’s a character introduced I wanted more closure on, but it wasn’t quite there. (And I can’t say more without offering spoilers!)
This is a great read and Walker adds in an extra layer of texture with past tragedy manifesting in blame, grief and guilt – which go unacknowledged and undiscussed – contributing to events here.
Don’t Look for Me by Wendy Walker was published by St Martin’s Press and is now available.
I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.