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Don’t Look For Me
BY Wendy Walker

St. Martin’s Press
September 15, 2020/ ISBN 9781250198709
Mystery/Thriller

Reviewed by Elise Cooper

AMAZON

Don’t Look For Me by Wendy Walker is a home run. It's a psychological drama about motherhood and the bond between parents and children, including grief, loss, healing, family, and courage.

"This is the first book I wrote that had a life moment of mine. A few years ago, when I had anxiety and was stressed, I took this four -hour drive to see my son play soccer. I drove by myself to watch the game. The game was rough, and the kids were cruel, pointing out our team player's personal attributes. As a mom, I was afraid my son was suffering emotionally. I felt powerless. As I was driving back home through this desolate area, my thoughts were spinning, and I began thinking about the meaning of life. I stopped at this gas station just as Molly had and saw these rolling hills going on forever."

The plot opens with a family of four: wife and mother, Molly Clarke, husband John, daughter Nichole, and son Evan. But their world changed when the family of five became a family of four. After her youngest daughter ran out into the road, Molly accidentally hit her as she was driving home. After the incident, Molly can feel her older daughter's hatred, her son's indifference, and her husband's lack of love, while she is riddled with guilt. The death is on her conscience and has pushed the rest of her family away. Though the investigation confirms she did everything right and the accident was truly that, how can she ever forgive herself?

"I wrote Molly with severe emotional distress. The killing of her child made her feel responsible; her husband seems to be having an affair, her oldest daughter had a major fight with her, and her son acted like a typical teenager. She has a tremendous amount of guilt, which caused her to walk away during a storm. I think Molly's pain and anxiety is resonating deeply with people. She wanted to be the protective mom but feels she has failed. Overall, Molly is a good solid person, responsible, a bit defiant, and loving."

Five years later, the family still hasn't recovered. John subconsciously blames her for the accident and has fallen out of love with her. Her middle child and only son, Evan, has decided to escape to a boarding school to play football. Nicole, her eldest, was expelled from high school and has fallen into a never-ending merry go round of alcohol and strange men.

Tragedy hits the family a second time, five years later, after Molly disappears. She was driving home from watching her son's football game and had an emotional crisis. She decided to walk away, having come to the conclusion that she was a bad parent. She left her car, cell phone, and a note saying not to look for her. Unfortunately, Molly got into a car with a father and child because a huge storm had begun.

"Nicole was babysitting her sister when she ran into the street. She told her mom something she now regrets. Nicole was filled with conflict about her mom. She knows Molly is a good mom, but a part of her hates her mom for accidentally killing her sister. I saw her and Molly as the bow and stern of a sinking ship. This is not the story of two downtrodden women. They both had guilt and grief, but readers also see the evolution of both women as they get their fight on and are willing to take all kinds of risks. Nicole is a warrior, loyal, and determined."

Two weeks later, 21-year-old Nicole, Molly's older daughter, receives a tip from a woman who claims she saw Molly the day she disappeared getting into a stranger's pickup truck. Despite the strained relationship between Nicole and Molly since her sister's death, Nicole decides to investigate. She is trying to overcome the guilt she feels for saying horrible angry words to her mom. Nicole's need to learn more became the drive to find her mother. She is also trying to decipher who was trustworthy and who was lying. Readers take the journey with Molly. Will she escape her captors and Nicole, will she find her mom?

This page-turning suspense novel is full of surprises. The characters are intense and intriguing. If you have not read Wendy Walker before, this is a good book, to begin with. Readers will forget their own troubles as they take a journey with Molly and Nicole. Definitely, an escape to any troubles people may have.

Reviewed 2020
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