Review: Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

Not That I Cold Tell

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Author: Jessica Strawser
Released: March 27th 2018
Received: Own (BOTM)
Rating: 3.5

For once it was the description that caught my attention when it comes to Not That I Could Tell. A mystery of a missing woman (and her children) in a small and close-knit neighborhood, where everything was never really quite as it seemed? Count me in. As far as the book cover is concerned, the colors on the cover are incredibly pretty, but the title is a little difficult to read, and it certainly couldn’t be spotted or read from a distance.

Jessica Strawser has one other published novel, Almost Missed You, which I admittedly haven’t read. Though I’ll probably considering adding it to my massive TBR pile. I love reading different novels by the same author to see how they’ve grown as a writer. Is that odd?

Spoiler Warning

I was immediately drawn to this novel; it seemed like the perfect balance for what I was looking for. A mystery that would keep me intrigued, while also not being a heavier thriller type novel. I couldn’t say what it was about the description that made me decide to grab it as my Book of the Month choice, but I did.

The small neighborhood full of women and friends was an interesting concept to me; I live in an area where I only have three neighbors, and I couldn’t tell you most of their names (except for the one that complains about everything – him I know). So to get transported to a little world where the neighbors don’t just know each other, but care about each other? How novel! (no pun intended).

I loved the slow build-up of this mystery. In truth I think I appreciated all the little moments and details revealed during the main part of the book more than I did the actual conclusion. Strawser just had a way of making her characters come alive; even though there were a decent number of them (and I have a bad memory for names) I knew who each one was and the little details of their personalities. This is the sort of storytelling I love more than anything (well, that and world building).

I will confess that I do feel that this book did end up breaking the promise. This is a mystery novel, no matter how else we’d choose to label it. As such we should have a chance to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. But in truth there are a couple of secrets we’re not allowed to see until the very end (even though reason would dictate that we’d have gotten a hint to them well before that moment). This disappointed me more than I’d like to admit.

Ultimately I found the ending unsatisfactory, especially in comparison to the rest of the novel. It just didn’t live up to my expectations, nor did it feel like a solid ending. I actually almost would have preferred that the entire last chapter got left out; it would have been better to be a bit more open ended, considering what we were given.

Despite not loving the ending of the novel, there were parts I really did enjoy about this book. I do hope to see more novels from Strawser in the future. I think somebody with fewer pet peeves than me (I hate it when the author hides important details) would really enjoy this novel, so please do keep that in mind.


About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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