Am I disappointed that this ended up being more women’s fiction than romance, and that the true crime aspect was not a major element? Absolutely. However, I enjoyed the journey, and I happily binged it in one sitting. So I can’t say that I didn’t like it – this was a solid 3.5-star read for me. It makes for a compelling debut, the kind that has me excited to read more from the author. I liked that it had an unpredictability to it, and there were some interesting themes that were explored. We’re in the headspace of this woman who is grieving the loss of her estranged father, out of her element, and has definitely spent way too much time studying true crime. I also liked that she was confident in her size (thicker than her love interest), and that her weight didn’t really have much to do with her personality. She’s the kind of heroine who is difficult to empathize with, and she was often kind of a jerk, but I found this to be a unique read.
The story follows Phoebe, a woman who temporarily moves into the home her father lived in when he passed away. She’s suspicious of her neighbors and sees true crime in everyday life, so her perspective is a little bit skewed – especially when she meets the guy next door. Phoebe is convinced that Sam is up to no good, but she quickly realizes that there is more to him than meets the eye. As the two form a tentative friendship and spend more time together, Phoebe finds herself drawn to Sam in a way she didn’t anticipate.
Yes, this is technically a romance. It does have an HEA, though not one that I was particularly enthusiastic about. It’s much more Phoebe’s story than Phoebe and Sam’s, despite the fact that he’s a constant presence throughout the book. I was really looking forward to the true crime aspect and seeing how that all played out, but it faded into the background after Phoebe’s initial (over the top) reactions to Sam. I think that could’ve been stronger, and it would’ve made for a more one-of-a-kind book all around. But I liked that this explored some heavier topics, and I liked that Phoebe isn’t the typical heroine. She’s not even that likable, really, and certainly a work in progress. Sam, on the other hand, was such a sweetheart. I don’t want to give away too much about him, but I would’ve liked a lot more time spent with him. More time with him pushing back against Phoebe too, and understanding why he fell for her so quickly. There were a lot of interesting components to the story that I wanted explored more deeply, which just shows how invested I was in the book overall. That’s what ultimately earns this 4 stars from me – it had a ton of potential, and (though it only scratched the surface) I was engaged throughout.
The audio is good! We only get Phoebe’s perspective, so it’s a single female narrator and pretty simple overall. Not an overly emotive performance, but a relaxing and enjoyable one. I liked the narrator’s soothing voice, and the format made this ideal for bingeing. The runtime isn’t overly long, the story is a slow burn (with a few steamy scenes), and the tone worked well in audio. So I do recommend the audiobook, especially if you’re going to listen while multi-tasking.
Turns out that reading nothing but true crime isn’t exactly conducive to modern dating—and one woman is going to have to learn how to give love a chance when she’s used to suspecting the worst.
PhD candidate Phoebe Walsh has always been obsessed with true crime. She’s even analyzing the genre in her dissertation—if she can manage to finish writing it. It’s hard to find the time while she spends the summer in Florida, cleaning out her childhood home, dealing with her obnoxiously good-natured younger brother, and grappling with the complicated feelings of mourning a father she hadn’t had a relationship with for years.
It doesn’t help that she’s low-key convinced that her new neighbor, Sam Dennings, is a serial killer (he may dress business casual by day, but at night he’s clearly up to something). It’s not long before Phoebe realizes that Sam might be something much scarier—a genuinely nice guy who can pierce her armor to reach her vulnerable heart.
About the Author:
Alicia Thompson is a writer, reader, and Paramore superfan. As a teen, she appeared in an episode of 48 hours in the audience of a local murder trial, where she broke the fourth wall by looking directly into the camera. She currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children.
Follow Jeeves on social media!
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases