Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica is everything I want in a thriller.
I love thrillers. I love the suspense, the just-this-side-of-credible motivations and reveals, the mystery element, the cliffhangers, the insanity, the secrets.
(Reading over that list just now I realize I’m also describing why I love Gothic fiction, too–just throw in some heavy atmosphere and deep sense of the uncanny to the above, and you’ve got Gothic!)
Anyway, Don’t You Cry is a great choice if you’re a fan of books like The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins or Her by Harriet Lane. It’s got a fast pace, a great puzzle, and a really good reveal at the end. It’s very cinematic, too–the writing is very scene- and plot-focused, almost like a crime show. Actually, that describes the overall tone and feel of this novel pretty well: it’s like a TV drama. There’s a very good dose of Crime Fiction in this particular book.
The story is told in two alternating voices. There’s Quinn, who awakes one day to find that her reliable, kind roommate Esther has disappeared. Quinn finds some mysterious letters among Esther’s possessions, and begins to try to unravel why Esther has gone missing. The other story is told by Alex, a recent high school graduate who feels he’s wasting his young life in his small town taking care of his alcoholic father. Then all of a sudden a mysterious young woman shows up in town, and Alex is immediately smitten.
For both Quinn and Alex events turn dark and sinister very quickly. Only at the end do we see the connection between these storylines. All the way through, though, there are themes that tie everything together beyond just the plot–Kubica puts a lot of emotional focus on the relationships between parents and children, and the theme of abandonment. There’s a nice emotional buildup right alongside the intensifying plot buildup, which makes the ending more satisfying.
If you’re after a fast, compelling, and twisty thriller, give this one a try.