Almost Missed You

St. Martin's. Mar. 2017. 320p. ISBN 9781250107602. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250107626. F
"All the wrong people know all the wrong secrets here" says one character in Strawser's debut, knitting parental abduction with a page-turner of devastating secrets unraveling among friends and spouses. Violet's blessed life goes haywire when husband Finn takes their toddler son, Bear, and abandons her during a beach vacation. Finn draws friend Caitlin into his breakaway from his wife by threatening to expose her marital secrets if she doesn't hide him in the family cabin in Kentucky. But to help a desperate Finn is to betray a grieving mother. Torn between obligations of motherhood and friendship, Caitlin accedes to Finn's demands while strategizing a plan to return Bear to his mother. Alternating time lines and narrators first raise—and then answer— questions in a story than has more twists and turns than the roads in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
VERDICT Fans of smart women's fiction mixed with a fast-paced plot should not miss this startling first novel from the editorial director of Writer's Digest Magazine. [See Prepub Alert, 10/3/16.]
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