April 22, 2015
The Next Time You See Me
The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones
Finished on March 23, 2015
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good!)
In The Next Time You See Me, the disappearance of one woman, the hard-drinking and unpredictable Ronnie Eastman, reveals the ambitions, prejudices, and anxieties of a small southern town and its residents. There’s Ronnie’s sister Susanna, a dutiful but dissatisfied schoolteacher, mother, and wife; Tony, a failed baseball star turned detective; Emily, a socially awkward thirteen-year-old with a dark secret; and Wyatt, a factory worker tormented by a past he can’t change and by a love he doesn’t think he deserves. Connected in ways they cannot begin to imagine, their stories converge in a violent climax that reveals not just the mystery of what happened to Ronnie but all of their secret selves.
Wow. This was a very good novel! I don’t recall reading any reviews for it within my blogging circle, but I’m glad I decided to give it a try. I’ve had the ARC on my shelf for a couple of years and finally decided to it was time to either read it or give it away. I’m glad I chose the former. Part mystery, part character study, The Next Time You See Me pulled me in from the opening chapter and didn’t let up until the very last page. I almost didn’t read it after perusing the comments on Goodreads, but I decided to go ahead since something must have piqued my interest when I got the ARC. I’m so glad I followed my gut and continued reading. It turned out to be a solid mystery.
See what some of Goddards’ contemporaries have to say about her book:
"The lonely cast of outcasts in The Next Time You See Me has enough heartache for a whole jukebox full of country songs. Holly Goddard Jones spins a tight if heartbreaking tale, always keeping the reader leaning forward."--Stewart O'Nan, author of Songs for the Missing
"The Next Time You See Me gives readers all the pleasures of the best mystery novels as well as the finest literary fiction. No matter gender, age, or social class, Jones’s boundless empathy renders characters who are vivid, complex, utterly realized. She is an exceptionally talented writer."--Ron Rash, author of The Cove and Serena
“The Next Time You See Me is an astoundingly good novel. Holly Goddard Jones writes with authority and a deep generosity about a large swath of humanity within a small town: Outsiders and insiders, middle-schoolers and the middle-aged, the violent and the violated, the lost and the found—and all those in between. The result is simply mesmerizing.”--Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl
I really enjoyed this debut novel! Told in alternating points-of-view, I was able to really feel each character's sense of desperation in their individual predicaments, coming to care about all of them, including the killer! Not as twisty as Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, but if you enjoy those types of thrillers, I recommend giving this book a try. It’s more mystery than thriller and really, more literary fiction than mystery. I’m looking forward to more in the future by this talented author!