Jane and Steve need some work done on their house. Conveniently, Steve hears about someone who can not only do the work, but will do it really inexpensively. Serendipity! Or is it? Rob is a little rough around the edges, and Jane isn't so sure about this situation. Struggling through a rough patch in her marriage, however, she soon warms up to Rob and they become friends, sort of. He's a tragic, mysterious figure, and Jane finds herself intrigued by his past. Before long, however, Jane starts to realize just who Rob is and what he's all about, and his secrets include something she could have never have imagined. If she's going to make it through this situation intact, her strength and determination will be called upon like never before. If Jane thinks her life is bad now, she'll be amazed at just how bad it can get.
This novel by Dave Conifer started off as a bit "Nicholas Spark-ish" but turned into a thriller as the writing process evolved (the author talks about that here). I enjoyed this book. There were some neat connections that tied the story together and made for an exciting plot. These connections result in a satisfying, if a little unrealistic, ending. The final twist is definitely unexpected, and I'm not sure how I felt about it. I found it interesting, and it just added that much more to the ending, but the way it was written made it seem a little outlandish. I think it would have gone over better had the reveal been a little more subtle.
I really liked the character of Jane. I found her believable and interesting, and the most developed character in the book. I found Steve a little more cliche. His reactions seemed more over-the-top than the story called for, and he was almost a caricature of a busy, disinterested husband. Rob's character had a lot of potential, but he confused me at times. I realize he may not have been "all there" mentally, but I never quite got the whole "I'm doing it for her" train of thought. It seemed such a big part of his motivation, but I felt that particular thread didn't have a lot of closure. From the emphasis on that, I thought it might have played a bigger role down the line. The relationship between Jane and Rob was fascinating, and it was fun to follow the path it took throughout the story.
The writing was stylistically very simple, which made for a fast read. The story was engaging and interesting, with several twists and turns along the way. I found sections of dialogue to be somewhat unrealistic and trite at times, however. Some of the information presented through dialogue may have been better shown through actions, or by taking a step inside the characters' heads. Although the plot itself has a lot of depth, I felt the writing lacked some of that depth. The story dragged here and there, but it never dragged to the point where I wanted to put the book down. I was definitely interested from beginning to end. Towards the ending, the shifts between scenes and characters were quicker, and that was in line with the upcoming climax.
All in all, an interesting and fun read!
3.5 /5 stars
Available at Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble