Can’t Catch Me by
Catherine McKenzie is a psychological thriller where deception
is the name of the game. The central theme of the story is
identity theft, with a side story involving cults. Although
readers might think these two do not connect, McKenzie does
a wonderful job tying them together.
story opens with Jessica Williams in an airport bar waiting
for her flight. She meets a stranger with the same name and
birthday as hers. They play a game of twenty questions, finding
what they have in common. But this also allows each other
to know private information. To make matters worse, Jessica
has posted on social media, her life, and travel plans. A
few days later, she realizes her identity has been stolen,
and her bank accounts have been emptied. Feeling that her
life has been taken from her again, she sets out to settle
the score with Jessica Two. Along the way, she meets other
Jessica Williams, who has also been swindled. Together they
plot to draw out Jessica Two and get back their lives and
author explained, "I have a friend who I dedicated this
book too. I live in Canada and travel a lot. Because my friend
has a very common name we kept getting stopped at the US border.
Someone with a similar name and the same birthday was wanted
by the police. Over time we were able to discern that the
person the police were after is a man. The border guards even
suggested she change her name even though she did nothing
was also the instance “I was at a book signing in Kentucky.
A woman asked me my middle name. I thought that was weird
until she told me we had the exact same name, spelled the
same way. We even looked somewhat alike. It occurred to me
that someone could steal a person’s money because they
were not stealing someone’s identity. They were the
same person on paper. This was the starting point for the
The sub-plot has Jessica escaping from a cult with the help
of private investigator Liam, who ends up being her boyfriend.
At the age of eighteen, she has left her family and a dear
friend, Kiki. The story goes back and forth between her time
in the cult and twelve years later, after she meets Jessica
“I have always been fascinated by cults. I have done
deep dives into Scientology and watched many documentaries
on cults. I even know two people who were brought up in cults.
They left when they became adults. The ultimate responsibility
of a parent is to keep their children safe. A common thread
is that cult parents probably start out with good intentions.
They don’t join a group thinking they will turn into
puppets. What does happen is that they eventually give over
their autonomy to the leader. This leader becomes the parent
over the adults and children. Part of what happens is the
seduction of the parent. The leader is also usually the abuser.”
This story has a life lesson, BEWARE OF STRANGERS. The author
wastes no time getting readers hooked from the very first
chapter with her creative and unique plots.