In Sorkin and Holmqvist’s debut thriller, a married woman meets an alluring stranger and later becomes a criminal suspect.
Manhattanite Sarah Rock is certain that her husband, Eric, has been having an affair with his co-worker Juliette. Sarah, who has suffered from depression in the past, is experiencing “blackout periods” and having nightmares about her spouse and his suspected mistress. As a result, she’s been seeing therapist Helena Robin for months. With her two children away at boarding school, Sarah feels like she’s lost her sense of purpose. Then, one day in Central Park, she meets a handsome, charming man named Lawrence. Despite the brevity of their initial, platonic encounter, Sarah can’t get the stranger off her mind, and subsequent park-bench rendezvous quickly lead to an affair. Weeks later, the police visit Sarah to ask her questions about a missing person case. They’re looking for a woman whom Sarah has seen at the park; it turns out that Lawrence may have a connection to her, so Sarah is reluctant to tell the cops anything. More bombshells follow, and after the cops accuse Sarah of a very serious crime, she starts to realize that her sense of reality may be distorted. The authors’ sharply written and persistently tense tale is divided into two parts: The first follows Sarah’s growing relationship with Lawrence, and the latter offers a series of shocking revelations. Throughout, Sarah is an enigmatic, continually evolving protagonist. Readers are privy to Dr. Robin’s periodic notes, for example, which make it clear that Sarah has something buried in her past. Still, Sarah remains sympathetic, as her candid perspective makes her eventual paranoia seem reasonable. Her emotional responses are raw and convincing, as when she cries alone in a parking lot or examines her body for presumed flaws. Some readers will likely foresee a major plot turn before Sarah does, but her valiant attempts to make sense of what’s happening spark unexpected twists.
A delightfully complex mystery with a compelling protagonist.