Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The novel opens with Charlotte Reynolds preparing to give a statement to the police. It's a device for starting a narrative, but also flags that we can expect to read Something Horrible in the near future.
Thirteen days earlier, Charlotte took her three children to a school fair. She also took little Alice, the daughter of Harriet, her best friend. Harriet was taking Charlotte updates her online status at a critical moment, and Alice disappears. The police are summoned, and the child is nowhere to be found. Harriet and her husband are notified, and Charlotte must endure not only condemnation from the public (her posting on social media becomes public knowledge), but her own guilt for letting her best friend down.
This book kept surprising me. The author and setting are both British, so I expected to plow through a lot of setting the scene and character introduction. The first few pages provide this information, including a bit of tension between Charlotte and ex-husband Tom, but the action--and seeds of doubt--begin early.
Harriet was taking a course in bookkeeping. This is why Charlotte had Alice with her in the first place. This seems very normal, but Brian, Harriet's husband, is surprised. He hadn't been told. Why?
Heidi Perks is an artist at giving out one piece of information at a time, shifting the reader's idea of the truth again and again. Secret after secret is revealed, pulling the reader deeper into the well of mental games, broken relationships, and murder. I kept picking up echoes of Gaslight and Bunny Lake is Missing, and was delighted.
I received a free NetGalley ARC in exchange for an honest review. My honest review is that Her One Mistake is a great read, and I recommend it to readers who enjoy psychological suspense.
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