Title: Still Mine by Amy Stewart
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
The Girl on the Train meets The Silent Wife in this taut psychological thriller.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU VANISH FROM YOUR LIFE AND LEAVE NO STORY BEHIND?
SOMEONE WILL MAKE ONE UP FOR YOU.
Clare is on the run.
From her past, from her husband, and from her own secrets. When she turns up alone in the remote mining town of Blackmore asking about Shayna Fowles, the local girl who disappeared, everyone wants to know who Clare really is and what she’s hiding. As it turns out, she’s hiding a lot, including what ties her to Shayna in the first place. But everyone in this place is hiding something—from Jared, Shayna’s secretive ex-husband, to Charlie, the charming small-town drug pusher, to Derek, Shayna’s overly involved family doctor, to Louise and Wilfred, her distraught parents.
Did Shayna flee? Was she killed? Is it possible she’s still alive?
As Clare uncovers the mysteries around Shayna’s disappearance, she must confront her own demons, moving us deeper and deeper into the labyrinth of lies and making us question what it is she’s really running from. Twisting and electrifying, this is a get-under-your-skin thriller that will make you question what it means to lose yourself and find yourself in the most unlikely places.
Still Mine by Amy Stewart is an intriguing, suspense-laden mystery that is full of unexpected twists and turns. On the run from an abusive husband, Clare O’Dey is persuaded to look into the disappearance of Shayna Fowles, a young woman whose life is eerily similar to Clare’s.
When Clare arrives in the desolate and poverty stricken former mining town of Blackmore, the townspeople, are, at first, suspicious about why she is town. Although most remain a little wary of her, it is not long before she forms a friendship, of sorts, with some of the locals. With few people concerned about or searching for the missing young woman, Clare feels a kinship with Shayna and despite warnings from several residents, she is determined to find out what happened to her.
Clare’s past is just as troubled as the inhabitants of Blackmore and although she has overcome a few of her demons, they are still nipping at her heels. Married young, her idyllic relationship with Jason quickly turned violent and it is not until she suffers a tragic loss that she is finally decides to leave her abusive husband. On the outs with her brother Christopher and her best friend Grace following an intervention for her drug problem, Clare has no one to turn to until she meets Malcolm Boon, the investigator Jason hired to find her. Although she has no investigative experience, she agrees to Malcolm’s request to try to get to the bottom of Shayna’s disappearance.
In spite of the townspeople’s lack of co-operation, Clare rents a decrepit trailer from Charlie Merritt, Shayna’s parents’ neighbor and Blackmore’s resident drug dealer. Despite his resemblance to her husband, Clare is drawn to Charlie and she finds herself on the precipice of risky behavior while in his company. After befriending his girlfriend, Sara, Clare’s presence in town is more easily accepted but that acceptance could come with a high price tag.
Using Charlie’s property as a home base, Clare’s path quickly crosses with Shayna’s parents, Louise and Wilfred. Louise suffers from early dementia and while Clare believes there is a kernel of truth in her confusion, separating fact from fiction is not always possible. Wilfred has never been the same since the mine collapse years earlier and he is embroiled in a long running feud with Charlie. He is volatile with a hair trigger and his lack of compassion for Louise makes him a difficult person to like.
After meeting the town’s doctor, Derek Meyer, Clare cannot help but feel that he knows more about Shayna’s disappearance than he lets on. She soon suspects his relationship with the missing woman runs deeper than just doctor/patient but she cannot find proof to support her theory. After discovering troubling information, her suspicions about the doctor deepen, but Clare remains uncertain about his role in Shayna’s disappearance.
Bleak and isolated, the town of Blackmore is the perfect backdrop for the unfolding story. Dark and slightly foreboding, poverty-stricken and poised on the brink of extinction, the dying town adds to the Clare’s overall feeling of desperation as she tries to uncover the truth about Shayna’s disappearance. The simmering undercurrents and residual anger from the mining accident that set the town on the path to ruin adds another layer to this increasingly complicated mystery.
Still Mine by Amy Stewart is a riveting novel with a complex cast of characters and a slightly unreliable lead protagonist. Clare is a multi-faceted character with a dark but fascinating backstory. The mystery surrounding Shayna’s disappearance is riveting and although this part of the plot is completely wrapped up, Clare’s storyline is not fully resolved. Despite these loose ends (my fingers are crossed for a sequel), Still Mine is outstanding debut that I recommend to fans of the genre.