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The Three Beths is a standalone novel by Jeff Abbott, the author of the popular Sam Capra series. When I got asked to review the book, I picked it up because I love the author’s series, so I knew I’d be in for a good ride.
The story follows Mariah Dunning, who has been suffering greatly, along with her father, due to her mom’s disappearance.
Not only that, but they also had to deal with the police not believing her dad that he had nothing to do with Beth leaving them. He certainly didn’t kill her.
So when Mariah sees her mom in a busy food court just for a second, she runs after her to ask for those so much needed answers. However, Beth is by now long gone.
When she gets home, Mariah is even more determined to find out what happened with her mother, even when her dad is trying to dissuade her from doing so. She can’t continue on living like before without knowing her mom’s fate.
This starts a chain reaction that involves loads of secrets and twists that make things quite complicated for Mariah – if not downright dangerous. Because Mariah soon finds out that her mom is not the only Beth who has disappeared in the recent years from around Lakehaven. Although initially there doesn’t seem to be any connection to the three women, soon the threads Mariah pulls on reveal a couple of gruesome knots that could jeopardize her entire existence.
And this begs the question, Is Mariah ready for the answers?
I found the story captivating, full of twists and turns, with quite a fast-paced narrative. There was always something going on, and I was never bored while reading it. I was sad at the predictability of the situation – everyone, including the police and neighbors, point a finger at the spouse when someone goes missing. It is not only true in fiction but also in real life.
So while the police was busy with Mariah’s father, she kept pushing and untangling those twisted thread to find out the real truth.
There are a few themes in thriller standalones that I quite enjoy. Two of them are amnesia, and a missing person. I was not disappointed to read that the second theme was a main ingredient of this book. At some point, the book reminded me of some of Harlan Coben’s standalones, which often tackle the same major theme as well.
My only minor grip with the book: at some point, the twists and turns became a bit too much. I did need some time to keep all these different plots straight in my head. It’s like you’re entering a labyrinth and the more you try to find your way out, the deeper you go down the rabbit hole. Which is not bad, mind you. But still, I found it just a bit tiresome for this reason.
I did like Mariah’s character, how she didn’t want to give up on her mom and would quietly search for her even when her father strictly forbade her to do it. Her father harbored some secret as well, and Mariah knew that, even though she was sure he didn’t kill her, the secret would not be a pleasant one once it was revealed. Still, she wouldn’t give up. I loved that resolve about her.
Overall, The Three Bets was highly entertaining, and I’m glad I got to read it. I’ve read it over a weekend, and those were some hours well spent.