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All booksMysteryNot That I Could Tell
Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

Not That I Could Tell

by Jessica Strawser

Quick take

A close group of female friends gather over wine. The next morning, one of their number is missing in this page-turner à la Big Little Lies.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FastRead

    Fast read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FemaleFriendship

    Female friendships

Why I love it

Elizabeth Mitchell
BOTM Readers Committee

While this book has all the great plot twists of an edge-of-your-seat thriller, what I really enjoyed was the way it develops a group of characters that I came to really care for. This is a character-driven story about the women in a suburb—mothers, loners, and one cheeky 11-year-old—left to confront a mystery that rocks their community.

After a night of kid-free wine-drinking around a backyard fire pit, the ladies of Yellow Springs wake to find that one of their number is missing. Kristin, a soon-to-be-divorcée and mother of twins, has vanished with her children. Immediately, the neighborhood gossip machine kicks into overdrive. Is she alive or dead? Did she skip town or was she taken? And is anyone else in danger? As the women seek answers while also managing their own households, they find strength in each other.

I was quickly sucked into this fast-paced, wild ride. I found the characters relatable and, although some make infuriating choices, I felt I understood them. The story of a tight-knit, small community with a dark side, it also sheds light on domestic violence, sisterhood, and the importance of speaking up.

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An innocent night of fun takes a shocking turn ...

When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.

By Monday morning, one of them is gone.

Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own.

As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone *really* knows anyone else.

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Member thoughts

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8143 ratings
  • 32% Love
  • 56% Like
  • 10% Dislike
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Awesome read! The story of these neighbors is interesting and a great mystery. I would love to have some of these people as real friends. The story line is a bit predictable but the plot twists are mind-blowing!

  • Merrick, NY

    It’s an enjoyable “neighborhood” perspective of Gone Girl - I appreciate the relationships among the women in the neighborhood and rather than guess at the ending, I let myself be taken for the ride!

  • Neenah, WI

    I loved it and couldn’t put it down! I’ve read some mixed reviews, but I enjoyed all the twists, I HAD to find out what would happen and finished it in less than a day. I’m so glad this was my pick!

  • Mingo Junction , OH

    The book was really educational and interesting. I learned so much about a topic I didn’t know about! It was very unique and had a great ending! I didn’t expect this book to be so darn good! Must read

  • Murrayville , IL

    Loved this book! At first I thought it was going to be super predictable but I was wrong. Ya’ll the ending made me CRY. I’m sitting in a restaurant reading on my lunch break in tears! Thanks BOTM ha

  • Lakeland, FL

    I took this book on a trip to Boston for four days. I finished it before the plane landed in Boston. It was a constant mix of humor and mysterious events. You don’t know who-dunit at all until the end

  • Windsor , PA

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Right from the beginning I was hooked. My only note is that I wish we could’ve had one more chapter from Izzy’s perspective. Overall, I would definitely recommend it.

  • Baltimore, MD

    This is one of those books that you can’t put down. You just have to finish it and know what actually happened in the end. I love how the writer had all the neighbors being close friends. Good book!

  • Mesa, AZ

    It was not as twisty as some people like their suspense novels, but I still enjoyed the story up to the very end. Some parts were a little slower than others, but would make a good beach read for most

  • Mineola , NY

    This book is a page turner--in the vein of Gone Girl or Big Little Lies, but unique & original all on its own. You won't be able to put it down. Quick and engaging read. You'll want more by the end!

  • Dearborn, MI

    This was such a quick read. Loved the different perspectives from the neighbors. Do you really know your neighbors? This is the theme of the book. Part of the ending was surprising.Good story overall.

  • Sellersville, PA

    Had me questioning all motives the entire book. Also felt sad and satisfying to see the friendships and fronts people put on to hide what's really going on and to see what happens when it's all shown

  • Murphy, TX

    The main character is keeping a secret from the reader the entire story... you couldn't help but feel betrayed by this character you have rooted for. Yet, I strangely loved it and the feeling it gave.

  • Miami gardens , FL

    Immediately gets you caught up in the story. I really liked the way it switches perspectives when it comes to the characters; and the ending was perfect. I want to read more of Jessica Strawsers books

  • Bristol, TN

    Little bit of desperate housewives meets gone girl left subtle clues all throughout that nothing is as it seems and kept you guessing the whole way through with a really excellent conclusion! Loved it

  • Sanbornville, NH

    I was worried that this book would be too similar to Gone Girl. As the story developed it became clear that this story would forge it’s own path. The writing keeps the pages turning to the very end!

  • Denver, CO

    I grew up in the Dayton area a mere 10 mins away from Yellow Springs. The author sets the scene so well and it was fun to read abt home. Page turning story! The story really is a la Big Little Lies!

  • Mound, MN

    I thought the premise of the book and how it was written was very original, or at least not run of the mill. Definitely had me questioning and on the edge of my seat. The ending I did not see coming!

  • Hazleton, PA

    This book was fantastic! It was a really quick read,mostly because I couldn’t put it down! Great character development, and pacing. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery!

  • Manchester , ME

    Started off a bit slow for me but then I found myself hooked. Loved the characters, and just when I thought I had it figured out, there was a shocking plot twist. Kept me guessing unti the very end.

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