I review Good As Gone by Amy Gentry.
Many thanks to the author, publisher & NetGalley for providing a review copy.
Thirteen-year-old Julie Whitaker was kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night, witnessed only by her younger sister. Her family was shattered, but managed to stick together, hoping against hope that Julie is still alive. And then one night: the doorbell rings. A young woman who appears to be Julie is finally, miraculously, home safe. The family is ecstatic—but Anna, Julie’s mother, has whispers of doubts. She hates to face them. She cannot avoid them. When she is contacted by a former detective turned private eye, she begins a torturous search for the truth about the woman she desperately hopes is her daughter.
Propulsive and suspenseful, Good as Gone will appeal to fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, and keep readers guessing until the final pages.
I love a good thriller. Something that keeps me guessing, keeps me on my toes, confuses and scares the hell out of me. That’s a sign of a good book. Good As Gone really is as good as the popular thrillers that have come before it – Gone Girl, The Girl On The Train, Before I Go To Sleep, and so on. One night, Julie, thirteen years old, is kidnapped from the family home. Her younger sister, Jane, saw a man holding a knife against Julie’s back, pushing her out of the house and out of their lives. Jane, eight years old and terrified, didn’t alert her parents for an hour, until it was too late. Julie is gone.
When Julie returns, she’s full of stories of rape and abuse, of being sold to drug lords in Mexico, of absolute horror. Good As Gone reminded me of Only Daughter (which I loved. See my review here), and the BBC series Thirteen, whereby a lost/kidnapped daughter returns to her family. It doesn’t take long for Anna to suspect that the 21-year-old woman who’s appeared on her doorstep is not really her daughter. But who is she? What has she lived through? And what does she want?
Gentry uses multiple points-of-view to tell this story. Anna, in first person, and Julie, and Jane in third-person. Also, Julie’s story is told in reverse – it starts with the woman in Anna’s house, and goes back through her life, her multiple identities, tragedies, and abuse. To keep this review relatively spoiler-free, I can’t say much more, so you really need to read it. Good As Gone will confuse and haunt you.
I also wanted to touch upon Anna, and how she’s clearly written by a modern, feminist author. There are snide remarks about her going by her “maiden name”, and she corrects people several times when they refer to her as “Mrs”, instead of “Dr”. These small additions make Anna more relatable, and I wanted to tip my hat to the author for including these very real scenarios that women face every day.