When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica

Now: Jesse’s world is in turmoil. Her heart is broken when mother dies of cancer, and her sanity follows as insomnia won’t let her mind rest. Money is tight with funeral expenses and she is forced to look for a new place to live. And when a credit check is required, clues start to reveal themselves about Jesse’s possible true origin.

Mid-1990s: Eden and her husband want to have a child. After moving out of Green Bay together, she decides to focus on renovating their new house instead of finding a new job. But fertility issues and a new friend who takes her family for granted create a toxic mixture of anxiety, frustration, and desperation for the couple.

When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica is the result of Jesse and Eden’s lives intersecting, and the tension created by time and memory ambiguity.  Here’s a couple thoughts about the result.

  1. I’m a very tough critic when it comes to written descriptions of dream states, semiconsciousness, or any form of shaky lucidity. There’s a lot of it in this book and at times it is done well, and at times, it’s just too much.
  2. I never felt like the stakes were high enough for me to fully care about the narrative, yet I don’t want to say anything more because it might give up spoilers.
  3. There were several stacked coincidences. You know, those coincidences that make each subsequent one kind of easier to believe than the last one… you feel yourself slipping away and allowing yourself to be pulled into believing. Yet looking back, I sorta can’t believe I believed the first one…

I know that is a lot of negativity.  It’s just that there have been so many good thrillers published in the last couple years that I think it has caused us all to set the bar a little higher.

Overall, When the Lights Go Out is a decent, quick read. There is history muggled, lies compounded, and a horrible cancer that takes away all the answers. The reader’s mind is wracked by possibilities: An absent father? A stolen child? Coincidences? The mystery is there and told in a way that measures out hints at a good pace. Readers of Kubica’s earlier works will definitely want to see what this one has to offer.

3 out of 5 stars

Releases on September 4th.

Thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin/ Hanover Square Press, Park Row Books, and Mary Kubica for the advanced copy for review.

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