She’s Not There by P.J. Parrish

I have previously read a few books in the Louis Kincaid series by sister duo P.J. Parrish and I found them quite enjoyable, so when the authors released a standalone novel, I had to check it out. Would it be very different from their biracial cop crime mystery series?

In She’s Not There, Amelia Tobias wakes up in a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with some severe injuries and almost complete amnesia. She is told that she was in a severe car crash, that she is the wife of a wealthy lawyer and that her husband is overjoyed that she’s finally woken up, and will visit her in the hospital soon.

While she doesn’t even remember her own name, there is one thing she knows with all her cells of her body: that she is very, very afraid of her husband, for a very unknown reason. So when he appears at the hospital, Amelia does the only thing she feels she has to do: she runs for her life.

As time goes by she starts to remember bits and pieces of her life, which doesn’t seem to match all too much what she’s been told in the hospital. As the wife of a lawyer, why does she remember being a ballet dancer? And why does she feel her husband wants to harm her, maybe even kill her?

On the run, without money, she pawns away her wedding ring to get some much needed cash, and then disappears, to try to remember her past on her own.

Her husband, Alex, a very wealthy man, hires a professional tracker, Buchanan, to find Amelia. In fact both Alex and his partner want Amelia found, no matter what. But one of the two wants something more sinister than that…

While Buchanan takes the case as it presents itself as a simple runaway bride situation, he soon discovers that things are not quite as they seem, and Amelia might indeed have a very serious reason for being on the run for her life.

She’s Not There is a very different book from the Louis Kincaid series. It is a strong psychological thriller where the author manages to make the topic – one quite popular these days (woman wakes up in the hospital with amnesia, runs away from husband fearing for her life), a chilling and suspenseful one.

I was reading the pages with trepidation, fearful for Amelia’s life as things started to come together, as she began to put the pieces of her life’s puzzle together. And much to my surprise, there were a few twists in the story that I didn’t see coming.

Like I mentioned before, the theme of the amnesiac wife waking up in a hospital bed is a topic that authors milked it for all its worth during the last few years. The first book I’ve read with this theme was probably Archetype by M.D. Waters, a dystopian sci-fi thriller well worth reading.

Then we have Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella, and maybe my all time favorite, Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson. And yet, this theme doesn’t seem to run out of steam any time soon, especially when each author adds their own personal flair to it, making it their own with every new story they craft.

She’s Not There has several subplots which keep you guessing pretty much all the time. The red herrings abound and just when you think you figured it all out, something comes along that throws your theory out of the water in an instant.

The writing is as good as we are used to the sister duo writing under the pen name P.J. Parrish, and it is refreshing to see that they wrote a book so very different in genre from their usual writings, while maintaining their suspenseful style that we are all addicted to.

While I am looking forward to more Louis Kincaid novels, I can’t help but hope that the authors will write soon another standalone story as well.

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