Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Review: Everything She Feared by Rick Mofina

by Rick Mofina
Release Date: April 11, 2023
2023 MIRA
Kindle Edition; 448 Pages
ISBN: 978-0778333401
Audiobook: B0BF17WWKN
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

When a teen falls off a cliff while taking a selfie, the last thing she sees before plummeting to her death is Katie Harmon, the nine-year-old girl she was babysitting, looking down at her. Investigators gather at the scene, and Katie’s mother, Sara, rushes to comfort her daughter, yet there’s a small, secret ping of alarm in Sara’s heart that she cannot share—though rookie detective Kim Pierce senses it. For years, others have tried to unravel this secret, from true-crime podcasters to a haunted journalist searching for a killer who vanished after being released from prison. And now, with detectives tightening the focus of their investigation, Sara is consumed by her darkest fear—that the babysitter’s death was not accidental.
My Thoughts
Everything she Feared was a very fast read, and overall, it was entertaining. The premise drew me into the story instantly; was it possible a nine-year-old child committed murder? I liked the philosophical question surrounding that concept and hope the author would go in-depth into that thought.  And while I liked the story and the concept, I did think the author didn't go deep enough into the theme but some people just can't imagine that a child could do such a thing even though history has shown otherwise.

The plot had three different story lines and you have to pay attention to how the characters and the events are connected.  All the story lines were interesting, but this format also allowed me to figure out quite easily who the culprit was and also to guess Sara's secret. The first third of the book deals with this secret, even if you aren't supposed to know what it is, and these little hints as to what would happen if the media ever discovers Sara's true identity. Can you hit the reader any hard over the head with who she was? So, that took out a lot of the tension and suspense for me as a reader, and mostly left me pondering the question over Sara and Katie and whether violent tendencies are a genetic predisposition, one of the themes running through this book. And while the author asks the question, I think it was skirted around rather than delved into, which was a shame as that would have been much more suspenseful and terrifying.

I wasn't really a fan of the Katie story line and how she was written. Even Sara was getting suspicious, and I get that she was written this way to act as a red herring, but as for trying to think she was guilty and feeling horror over the situation, all it did was made me shake my head and wonder if there was a better way this could have been achieved.  That being said, the writing style was addictive, even if it was predictable, but you did have to pay attention to all the little details from each story line and what the characters actually said and did. 

Everything She Feared was an interesting read, but while the multiple plot lines did connect and merge into a satisfying conclusion, it was predictable and many parts did have a tendency to drag on.  Exaggerating a character's behaviour is also not one of my favourite tropes to advance a plot line as I find it an easy red herring to spot, but I also find it interferes with story flow and story immersion.  And while the author introduced he nature versus nurture question, I don't think there was enough philosophical depth to the question in this book.  Overall, if you like multiple POV and serial killers, you will find this book interesting.