Off the Deep End

Thomas & Mercer: Amazon. Jan. 2023. 272p. ISBN 9781662506208. pap. $16.99. SUSPENSE
An accident that devastates one family leads to a kidnapping investigation in another in Berry’s (Under Her Care) novel. The points of view shift between former marriage counselor Jules, who lost her son, Gabe, in a car accident while she was driving, and Amber, whose son, Isaac, survived the accident. The story begins when Isaac goes missing 10 months later. Jules is being interviewed by an FBI forensic psychologist while FBI agents also suspect a serial killer who has kidnapped and murdered two other teenage boys in the region. Jules unravels her story of the special connection that she shares with Isaac. Amber’s family is under a microscope while the FBI searches for Isaac, placing a strain on her marriage and their daughter. Amber is convinced that Jules has some involvement while her shocked husband is expecting to hear their son is the third victim of the serial killer. Amber’s story tells of Isaac’s struggles following the accident, including the bullying and depression that lead him to believe he should have been the one who died. As the authorities work to solve the case, Amber and Jules come to their own realizations, leading to an unexpected ending.
VERDICT This is a well-done mystery with a plausible yet surprising ending.
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