“In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.
Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.
As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under the stranger’s spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.”
My Thoughts: Mary Kubica is an excellent writer of suspense novels. She always does a superb job of balancing the reader’s need for answers along with the writer’s need to withhold those answers as long as possible. Her characters are realistic in a way that is at once familiar and yet slightly voyeuristic. She excels at building tension as well as keeping readers guessing.
That being said, Don’t You Cry is not her best novel. There is something rather formulaic about the story that diminishes the tension. The idea that Esther is not who she seems is a plot device that has been done to death. Plus, the ending is a disappointment; it feels as if Ms. Kubica took the easy route rather than the one that would create more drama.
Then there are the characters themselves. This time, instead of characters to whom one can relate, we have Quinn – who is as spoiled and selfish a person as you could get. I understand that this is the point behind her character; she is supposed to be rather despicable so that she can redeem herself by solving the mystery of Esther’s disappearance. However, her character traits are not ones I enjoy in novels. I also find Alex somewhat problematic. There is nothing wrong with his character, but, to me, his voice does not register as teenage male. This is not an overt thing; I could not pinpoint one particular instance of where I rolled my eyes and said a teen boy would never do/say that. Yet, after spending time with my own teen boy and his friends, there is something about Alex that does not ring true to me. It would be easy to say that Alex is sensitive and not a typical teen boy, which is all true. Still, I cannot help but think that Alex reminds me of a girl pretending to be a boy.
Thankfully, there is plenty within the novel to entertain, and I did have a difficult time setting the book aside for real life. As with all books, the issues I have with it are entirely personal. Other readers may have no problems with the characters or the ending. In fact, plenty of rave reviews indicates the truth of that sentiment. For me, Don’t You Cry is just not quite on par with her debut novel or even her second one. Thankfully, even a disappointing Mary Kubica novel is a good novel.