Skip to main content

Book Review of Where Did You Go? by P.L. Jonas

 

The popularity of novels like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train with an intriguing premise, unreliable narrators and plot twists, has put the spotlight on psychological suspense stories. Such stories have a thriller like urgency about them and yet are rooted in familiar, real life situations. A well crafted, edgy psychological suspense can keep the reader hooked till the very last page. 

The novella Where Did You Go? by debut author P.L. Jonas begins with an intriguing set up. Sammy, a successful but reclusive ghostwriter, is offered a chance of a life time. The project involves completing a half-finished manuscript by her favourite writer, Margaret Mitchell, the celebrated author of  the all-time classic Gone with the Wind. Her brief is simple: she needs to follow the outline that the author has left behind and submit a draft within a tight deadline. 

Her publisher, James, is confident that Sammy has what it takes to finish the novel. The chance of having her name on the book along with that of Mitchell is an exciting prospect. Even though she is extremely anxious about the publicity that such a high-profile project is bound to attract, she agrees to take it up.

As she dives into the project, Sammy begins to have doubts. Has she bitten off more than she can chew? And what's with the vivid dreams of Rhett Butler where she finds herself in the role of Scarlett? Is it just the pressure of writing the book and the looming deadline? Only problem is that she doesn't remember adding several scenes to the manuscript. Is she sleep-writing? Is that even possible? 

Like every good psychological suspense novel, this one too probes the mysteries of the mind. Sammy as the unreliable narrator keeps the reader's attention hooked. With little breadcrumbs thrown in about Sammy's childhood years and her troubled relationship with her mother, the author puts together a gripping plot. What the author does beautifully is make the main character and her career (ghostwriter) an intriguing part of the character's mental makeup. Is Sammy just a writer who like many others in the business has a vivid fantasy-prone imagination? Or is there something in her past that she is hiding? Are her dreams just dreams or is there some truth to the scenarios that are being revealed to her in her dreams?

The flaw in the story is that the plot twist comes a little too early. And the subsequent revelations are more tell than show. While the story revolves mainly around Sammy and her inner world, the other characters like James (her school friend and now publisher), her estranged brother Matthew do play minor roles. The author has missed an opportunity to mine these relationships to further deepen the mystery before giving us the big reveal. Gloria's role as the nosy neighbour too remains underdeveloped. 

Overall though, it's an engrossing read. If you enjoy reading psychological suspense, you won't be disappointed.

Get your copy from AmazonIN   or Amazon.com

 

Thanks to Saga Fiction for an Advance Review Copy of the book. 



 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Bombay Heights: The perfect Diwali read is now available in paperback

Reading romance during the festive season adds to the fun and sparkle, doesn't it? So, for Diwali 2021, I decided to bring out a Paperback edition of my rom-com Bombay Heights: Sleepless in the City of Dreams .  The best part is that the story takes place during the festive season. What's not to love! So, get ready to be immersed in the spirit of the festival of lights!  Blurb: Small town girl Sanjana Kale wants a fresh start in Mumbai. A challenging job and some much needed distance from her ludicrously over-protective family could get her life under control. Forced to team up with video game designer Ashwin Deo, who is too attractive for his own good, she finds life becoming a whole lot more complicated when he turns out to be her new neighbour. How can she maintain a professional distance with this charming troublemaker who believes in getting up close and personal? To make matters worse, her ex tries to manipulate her loved ones to work his way back into her life

Understanding the Business of Writing

Welcome to Week U of Authors' Tips - A to Z of Writing.  If this is the first time you're visiting this series, here's a quick recap: Authors share their tips on writing fiction and each week we talk about various aspects of writing. This week, I focus on Understanding the Business of Writing. Read on... and don't forget to share your thoughts in the comment box. Get this straight all you aspiring writers. Writing is a business. For those who think it's your passion that fuels your writing and will do so for the next 5,10 or 15 years... here's a little reality check. Two years after you have poured your blood, sweat and tears into your debut fiction novel and found no publisher wanting to publish it, the passion will shrivel up and die very soon. Sure, you might be the one-in-a-million breakthrough writer to find a publisher who is willing to sign you up for a three-series book deal and a six figure advance. A second scenario, and a more li

Niche Markets in Romance Writing

Welcome to Week N of Authors' Tips: A to Z of Writing. If this is the first time you are visiting this series, here's a quick recap. Authors share their tips on writing fiction - and each week we talk about various aspects of writing. This week it's time to take a closer look at Niche Markets  A few weeks ago I'd posted about the importance of knowing your Genre as it helps readers to discover your books. A genre like Romance -- which incidentally is the top selling category -- has more than 100-plus sub-categories. These are often called 'niches', a marketing jargon for specialist sub-categories. While some of the more popular ones like romantic suspense, chicklit, paranormal romance, historical romance, etc. are evergreen favourites, as reading preferences evolve, new niches emerge from time to time. For instance, a few years back the super-duper success of E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey sparked off a new niche of BDSM within the sub-genre