A special thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Susan Lewis returns following Too Close to Home (2015)with another gripping edge-of-your-seat psychological suspenseTHE GIRL WHO CAME BACK—a family’s idyllic life, shattered in a million pieces. A mother’s desperate need for justice for her daughter, from a twisted evil monster. MIND-BLOWING!
Prologue: As the book opens we meet Amelia briefly. A nine-year-old disturbed girl, who wasn’t like other children. She stared at people, never laughed or no excitement. Little seemed to amuse her and she always wanted what was not hers. Amelia did not speak much even to her mother, Olivia. She chatted away with her father, Anton, when he made the time. She was sullen and shy. She did not fit in with other kids. Then one day . . . the unspeakable. Murder.
Chapter One begins sixteen years later. Jules Bright answers the door—Detective, Andee Lawrence delivers a message. Amelia Quentin is being released from prison. The detective is every bit as appalled as Jules, when the wheels of justice had turned the way they had almost three years ago.
Now the murderer is returning to Crofton Park. Julies Bright could not believe she murderer could even consider stepping foot in this place again. Her sentence was an outrage. They had been cheated a proper trial. Jules' and her husband, Kian--their horrific tragedy and demise of a family at the hands of a lunatic, Amelia Quentin. She received parole and she has not even served three years!
A dark and disturbing mind a plot, a conspiracy-the unraveling begins, as the author takes us back to the crime three years earlier. We also meet Daisy, who lives at the Mermaid pub, a happy child and a lovable family. Befriends a girl her opposite, Amelia.
From past to present we meet a cast of characters from childhood to adulthood. It all started with a text, the arrest, and the trial. Revenge. The death of a beloved daughter, and a friend to many.
Hatred, resentment, and the need to hurt, even destroy, the girl continues to burn holes through Jules, the mother. Was Amelia even capable of remorse? Jules knows if she had been a part of any other family without the money, she would have had no privileges or early release, much less her big fake comeback.
Manipulative Amelia is trying to turn the tables, once again with her evil, twisted lies. What gave her the right to take her daughter’s life, and her family? She watches as she goes through the elegant iron gate, so perfect and tranquil and no one would have guessed that a killer was in the vicinity, hidden like a sick predator, or a poison in the air.
Jules: If anyone was going to avenge Daisy’s killing, it would be her. A mother torn apart by grief, crushed by the system that had robbed her of proper justice, traumatized by the proximity of her nemesis, besieged by Facebook posts and attempted visits to her old home. In the light of all she had been subjected to -would it come as a surprise to anyone that she’d lost all sense of reason? How could she be accountable for her actions? Maybe she’d be tried for voluntary manslaughter—with provocation. Who else wants revenge?
Amelia and Dean had been arrested at the scene of the crime and were later charged with joint-enterprise murder. Amelia had set up Daisy and Dean as part of her conspiracy. Sick and twisted. (now this is one complex story). Dean was remanded into custody and Amelia was released on bail--for murder. She had sent the text that had tricked Daisy into going to her house. Fifteen stab wounds had been inflicted by the same left hand. Amelia was left-handed. Dean was not. Rape? How did you set up such a sick plan?
Amelia’s father was connected in places that mattered, a lawyer. Amelia had tricked them all. Obsessed with another girl's life and family. Daisy was no longer with them, and unable to pursue her dreams and live her life. No one had the right to take that from her and yet Amelia had decided that she did. A calculating murdering lunatic.
Jules received letters from Dean, the first week of his sentence with details of what happened. They all knew there was something horribly wrong with Amelia—sick, a maniac, a psychopath. Dean is tortured by the events---received ten years, and Daisy five. Out in three.
Families ripped apart by this monster. How would they prove she killed her mom and Daisy? The most heartbreaking parts of leaving the Mermaid had been forcing herself to let go of Ruby. She had believed that Ruby was passing messages to Daisy to keep them connected. (magical realism here).
Their lives remained in pieces in so many ways, while Amelia Quentin was allowed to start hers all over again—to choose another generous-hearted girl to befriend and butcher. A mother’s vengeance. Justice for Daisy and Dean.
Will a broken family bond over their tragedy, or move further away from one another? However, there may be others who want justice just as much as the Bright family. Could there be a larger plan in motion—will fate step in and the nightmare finally be over?
WOW! Susan Lewis just keeps getting better and better. Not sure how anyone cranks out so many books—she has a special gift. Intense, dark, gritty, disturbing, and emotional, mixed with psychological twists and turns—leaving you holding your breath. I was still reading through the night, finishing at 4 am...racing to the end.
The strong love of parents, and one cold twisted gal--she could turn on a dime- your head will be spinning. A haunting and gripping tale, vivid settings and well-developed characters….and did I mention plot(s)? If you have not read Susan previously, definitely start.
Fans of Lisa Jewell, Diane Chamberlain and Heather Heather Gudenkauf will enjoy the complex multi-layered tale and domestic suspense. (my favorites). This may be Lewis' most intense yet! A cautionary tale for parents and teens, alike. Be careful who you befriend--it could prove deadly.