I’ve been on a psychological suspense/thriller kick lately. I’ve read quite a few and they’ve all been fairly engaging. I’ve read many books by Sophie Hannah in the past, she’s written a large number of books and they generally entertain me with their twists and turns, this one is no exception.
This post contains affiliate links, see disclosures for more detail. I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are honest and my own.
About the Book:
Cara Burrows is a fed-up wife and mother in the UK and decides to “run away” to a resort spa in Arizona. She doesn’t tell anyone where she’s going, and after a few wrong turns, finally ends up at the Swallowtail resort late at night. Cara is exhausted and ready for bed, so when she enters her room, that’s the only thing on her mind. She opens the bathroom door–and sees someone else’s things? The lights turn on and a man and a young girl are as shocked as Cara to see her standing in their room. Things get sorted out at the front desk and Cara is given a luxury villa to compensate.
The next morning, she meets some of the other hotel guests and starts to think about the man and his daughter. The more she thinks about it, the girl looks just like Melody Chapa–a famous murder victim whose body was never found, yet her parents were arrested for her murder. But…was it really Melody, and if it was, what is she doing here? As Cara begins to do a bit of armchair sleuthing, some of the things she discovers just don’t add up. Everyone seems to be lying to her, or telling her half-truths. What did Cara really see? Is Melody alive, and if so, what happened to her?
This is a definite thrill ride, although some of it requires a bit of suspension of disbelief if you will. From the beginning, you wonder what is up with Cara–why did she leave home without telling anyone, and spend a gigantic amount of money doing so? Then, you can’t tell who you can trust with truth-telling, or if anyone is actually telling the entire truth.
I loved that Melody’s back story and the information about her case is related through interviews and transcripts. That gave the story a bit more interest and depth than if it were told in a straightforward way. It gave both Cara and the reader the education about the case without being obvious about it. It allowed me to formulate and decide what I thought happened to Melody (only to have that eventually turned on its end, but that’s a great thing to have happen in a suspense novel). The characters overall are quite caricatured, especially the Americans, and not necessarily in a good way. It would have been better for there to be at least one “normal” person visiting the resort to foil off of the other more colorful ones.
There are some twists in the tale that I didn’t see coming. The ultimate resolution is not as clear as it could be, and that was actually a good thing for this novel. The twists lead up to a slightly ambiguous ending, which give the reader payoff because it causes a bit of fodder for pondering. Despite the book’s shortcomings with some inane characters and unbelievable things happening, the core story is pretty engaging and the ultimate story of what happened to Melody is well worth reading the book.
Readers who enjoy a bit of chick lit combined with an intriguing mystery will thoroughly enjoy Keep Her Safe. Some imaginative storytelling, coupled by some surprising twists, make the novel a quickly paced piece of entertainment.
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