Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet). 

Charlie, Presumed Dead

When this book arrived in my mailbox, the plan was to add it to the bottom of the review pile. Great plan, but after having a quick read of the first chapter first, I found myself reading the entire book in one sitting the same day I received it. Here’s the blurb:

In Paris, family and friends gather to mourn the passing of Charlie Price, presumed dead after a horrific accident. At the funeral, his two girlfriends—Lena and Aubrey—uncover their boyfriend’s shocking betrayal. Charlie led a double life, and they are the casualties.

Over the course of a week, the girls embark on a mind-bending search for answers. Is Charlie still alive? What else was he hiding? As a trail of Charlie’s deceptions carries them across Europe and Asia, the girls’ deepening friendship sustains them. The truth is within their grasp—but when they each discover that the other has been harboring secrets of her own, will their own lies destroy them?

Charlie, Presumed Dead is a compelling psychological thriller that will keep readers guessing beyond the final page.

A plot featuring a man who has strung along two women without their knowledge is nothing new – it’s a darker love triangle scenario. However, the idea of the two teaming up together to uncover the extent of his deception, is a little different. The novel alternates their viewpoints, with a third viewpoint (Charlie’s) thrown in randomly. It’s easy to get caught up in the dark, tangled and sticky web of lies and secrets, not knowing who to believe or trust, for each character has their own motives for wanting the deception revealed. The mystery folds in on itself until the final cliffhanger twist that I didn’t see coming. If you like happy endings where everything is all sorted out, where light triumphs over dark … this is not for you because the inevitable “what happens next” is left unanswered. If you like books that keep you guessing, check this one out.

At its heart, it’s a reminder that we can never really know everything about the people in our lives, and despite some unbelievable aspects (would the girls really embark on a quest like this together, would they really be clever enough to follow the clues, and do young people really have that much disposable income?) overall, I enjoyed the ride. It’s aimed at the YA market, but the appeal is wider than that.

Available from good bookstores and Black Inc Books. My copy was courtesy of Nero Books.




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