Published: April 19, 2020
People have been disappearing in the vast and pristine wilderness of 1970s Montana. One evening, restless university student Julia Strauss meets the captivating Alex Bowman and finds him irresistible. He is handsome, polite, and mysterious. If someone seems too good to be true…
This is a romantic suspense novel inspired by true events. The hero is Mr. Perfect when he is with the heroine. However, this cultivated persona melts away to reveal something frightening and unforgiving when they’re apart. Will Julia be able to see beyond the haze of her infatuation before it’s too late?
Romona Simon’s debut novel introduced me to a different mystery/thriller subgenre that I have never heard before. Romance is a genre that I don’t normally reach into, but with the right amount of mystery and thriller, it somehow works.
This novel is a romantic suspense/thriller following the law student, Julia, who was smitten by a handsome man that she met in a coffee shop. Julia is a girl who gets whatever or whoever she wants. But the only guy that she became heads over heels with is quite confusing as she was not sure if he likes her or not. Two third of the story was mostly about Julia chasing after this guy, Alex. If it were any other novel, I would have been annoyed. Yet there is something about the book that keeps me from reading.
Julia, as a main character, is the typical pretty rich girl. But Alex is another level. In the latter part of the book, there are POVs of Alex that somehow changes his character altogether from how Julia perceives him. And after seeing Alex’s POV, I admired the author for how she builds up her main characters. It felt like being caught in a trap without you noticing it. I was already expecting the twist in the story, but what I did not expect is liking the antagonist and not caring much about the mystery aspect of the novel.
If I were to rate this out of pure enjoyment, I would probably rate it a 4 to 4.5 out of 5 moons. But overall, I only gave it a 3.5 rating because I feel like it lacks the suspense aspect of the story. When I finished the book, I was satisfied and looking forward to the next installment of this series (if it is a series). Yet as I contemplated the whole story, the mystery aspect is not well-developed. We get to see bits and pieces of the mystery and the underlying reason for it all, yet the missing girls do not seem like a huge part of the novel. But if this is the first book in a series, I think it is a perfect first book, as the author has set-up the atmosphere and the relationship quite well. There is a lot of room for the story to expand and developed fully into a suspense novel without leaving out the romance.
Funnily enough, I am looking forward to how the story between Alex and Julia would end. I surely hope that there will be a next book from this world as I would love to read it. Hopefully, the mystery aspect would expand, and we could see how much buzz it was causing in the town.
All in all, it was a highly recommended read. Just a trigger warning for rape; there is a rape scene in this though not detailed but mentioned subtly (if you could call it subtle).
So that is all for this review. Do check it out if you are into romance and a wimp for horror/thriller novel or if you just like a new take on suspense novels.
Until next time!