‘Don’t You Cry’ by Mary Kubica (@MaryKubica) – A rich, dark and suspenseful thriller

I would like to thank Net Galley and the publisher Harlequin for my ARC of ‘Don’t You Cry’ by Mary Kubica in exchange for my review.

Quinn Collins is not an ideal roommate. She’s kind of messy, brings all kinds of strange men back to her place and doesn’t quite manage to pay all of her share of the rent, but she still likes to think that her relationship with Esther is a good one, that they are best friends; that they share everything. At least until Esther disappears, and a series of mysterious notes and phone calls makes Quinn question everything she thought she knew about her friend.

Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher in a restaurant in a small Michigan town, trying hard to earn enough money to keep him and his alcoholic father just in the black. He is a bright and intelligent young man, someone who should have gone to college just like all of his former classmates, someone who dreams of something a little bit different to the life he now leads. From the moment the mysterious young woman he dubs ‘Pearl’ walks into the restaurant, his life is about to change, but even he cannot begin to understand just how much that will be. As randomly as she appears, soon she vanishes again but Alex is desperate to know more about her and why it is that she sits and stares at the offices of a local therapist.

With ‘Don’t You Cry’, Kubica has created a really psychological thriller, the story slow to build as, like Quinn, the reader doesn’t really get to understand whether or not Esther is truly missing, but knows enough to glean that there is something not quite right going on. With Alex’s story it is not certain his role in the action or Esther’s tale but from the minute that Pearl arrives in the restaurant you can see the two tales are inextricably linked, though perhaps not as you might first believe. Kubica leads the reader up many garden paths throughout and just as you think you know what is going on, something else happens to make you begin to question things once more.

I would not call this a fast paced book as despite the disappearance of a young woman at the start, there is no real sense of foul play here and much like the early days of a missing pesons investigation, there is very little to investigate, especially as it looks as though Esther left of her own accord. As her actions, or at least the actions surrounding her last days, appear to be all the more erratic, the pace picks up and so does the intrigue. The action is divided between Quinn’s search for Esther in Chicago and Alex and Pearl’s story and as more of the back story is revealed the reader is drawn deeper and deeper in and it wasn’t until very near to the end that I started to understand what was afoot, the answers to this complex puzzle cleverly hidden throughout.

I enjoyed the writing style, the narrative told from Quinn and Alex’s point of view and the mysterious letters in between all signed EV which perhaps created the biggest misdirection of all. The characterisations were great and while Quinn is the kind of roommate I would likely have slapped repeatedly, Alex was a far more complex character, full of dreams and ambitions he had never had the opportunity to realize, perhaps wise beyond his years. The supporting characters were well rounded and the descriptions vivid. If you like a good steady build in your thriller that gives way to a surprising and dark but fitting ending, then this is for you. A thoroughly satisfied 5 stars.