Happy Monday! Today I have a review of Mary Kubica’s newest book, a domestic suspense, When the Lights Go Out, publishing by Harlequin/Park Row on September 4, 2018. Mary Kubica is a go-to author of mine for a smoldering, slow-burning fix. I can rely on her storytelling to be emotive and easy to fall into. When the Lights Go Out has a rather controversial ending! Read on to see how I felt about it (without spoilers, of course!).
When the Lights Go Out is told in alternating timelines: Jessie in the present day and Eden in 1996.
Eden desperately wants to be a mother. Her narrative is focused on that side of things. Jesse, Eden’s daughter, in the present time is struggling with caring for her mother and in the aftermath of her loss, as Eden has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and is nearing the end of her life.
After years of caretaking for her mother, Jessie is faced with rebuilding her life. On a leap of faith, she applies to college but quickly discovers there might be a problem with her registration due to identity. What does this mean for Jessie? The mystery of figuring out just who she is takes her down an unbidden path. She is extremely fatigued and overwhelmed with insomnia, and it is affecting every aspect of her life while she also tries to figure out who she is. The lines between truth and fiction become blurred, and the fact that Jessie’s judgment is unclear makes it even harder for her to see straight.
I quickly came to know Eden and Jessie because Kubica’s character-building is on point, and not only did I know them, I empathized with each of them and truly felt emotional about the issues they were individually facing.
As for that ending, I did not see it coming. Even with all of the reviews I had read, I never expected that. And I have to say, in all the thrillers I’ve read, I’ve never witnessed that before, so it was completely original. I was so shocked, I remember gasping out loud. I think that fit with the storyline, though it was a big risk.
Overall, I found When the Lights Go Out to be another page-turning suspense novel from Mary Kubica, more on the domestic suspense side than thriller. It is well-written, slow-burning, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that ending.
Thank you go Harlequin/Park Row for the ARC. All opinions are my own.
A woman is forced to question her own identity in this riveting and emotionally charged thriller by the blockbuster bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica
Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known.
Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.
Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Has Jessie’s whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?