Friday, August 16, 2019

Book Review: False Step

By Jami Deise

Thanks to reality TV, Instagram, YouTube, etc., it seems that everyone is looking for fame that lasts much longer than the promised fifteen minutes. Even those of us whose only public display is Facebook carefully curate what we post in order to put forth the most flattering portrait of ourselves as possible. But sometimes people end up as a supporting character in someone else’s movie, and that’s when we can’t control the narrative any longer.

In Victoria Helen Stone’s latest thriller, False Step, occupational therapist Veronica Bradley is stuck in a dead marriage to personal trainer Johnny, staying only because of their daughter Sydney. But when Johnny finds a missing child, suddenly he’s a hero to their Denver, Colorado town… and everyone wants to know about him and his family. As Veronica is having an affair with Johnny’s best friend, Micah, she wants nothing to do with the press coverage, the fawning fake friends, or the police. And as Johnny’s behavior grows more strange, she’s forced to wonder if her husband is hiding something big.

Veronica should be an unlikable character, but Stone does such a good job describing an insecure woman who married too soon, who now feels trapped because of her daughter’s hero worship of her father, that the reader roots for Veronica regardless. While the novel’s prose could have been more sophisticated, it works well with Veronica’s view of the world. As the stakes get higher, Veronica’s choices become more urgent, and the book becomes more of a page-turner. Even though I predicted the ending, it’s an earned one.

False Step probably won’t make any “best of” lists, but it’s a fast, enjoyable read for domestic thriller fans.

Thanks to Little Bird Publicity for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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