THE LOOK-ALIKE Erica Spindler
ISBN: 978-1250-083678 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781-250-08368- (eBook)
January 28, 2020
Suspense

Tranquility Bluffs, Wisconsin Present Day

Ten Years Ago

While taking a shortcut to her dorm after a study session in the library, Sienna stumbles upon the body of a young woman lying in the snow in a pool of blood. Shocked at the blood soaking into the snow she screams. Campus policeman Randy Clark quickly arrives. After checking the pulse of the body, Randy radios the station and then helps Sienna to his car to get her out of the cold.

A month after the murder on campus, when the crime goes unsolved, Sienna begins to feel terrified that maybe her mother, Viv, was right, and she is the one who was meant to die. Sienna shares her fears with Randy, he appears to think she may be right since they have been unable to find the killer. Her father, fearing Sienna is succumbing to the same delusional paranoia that her mother has, and angry that Randy seems to be fueling Sienna's fears, sends Sienna to live with her grandmother in London.

Now

After ten years away, Sienna returns to Tranquility Bluffs and plans to stay and help care for Viv, as well as open her own restaurant. She feels some guilt that she has left the burden of caring for Viv to her half-brother Bradley since their father's death five years ago.

When Sienna surprises Bradley in his office, he doesn't seem happy she's home and seems certain Sienna doesn't realize how bad their mother's illness has become. Sienna knows dealing with her mother will be hard but is determined to rebuild her life in her hometown. Bradley, while skeptical, agrees to help her, and warns her that the investigation of the murder ten years ago has been reopened.

After arriving at her family home, Sienna realizes how deep her mother's delusions have become. She is locked inside the home with drapes drawn and talks of being watched all the time. Sienna is heartbroken at her mothers' condition, but soon begins to doubt her own mental health when she starts to almost believe her mother's delusions.

Shortly after arriving at home, Sienna notices a man watching her from across the street. It turns out Jonathon is new to the neighborhood and has bought the house across the street from Sienna's family home. Jonathan and Sienna are soon attracted to each other.

A series of events convinces Sienna that there is more to the murder ten years ago than she thought. The police have re-opened the investigation, though there is apparently no new evidence. As Viv's paranoia spirals out of control, Sienna begins to doubt her own sanity and is not sure who she can trust. Will she figure it out before she becomes the murderer's next victim?

THE LOOK-ALIKE is an engaging novel about a young woman raised to fear what may be inside her, and yet strives to overcome those fears. All the things she thought were true about her family and the relationships within that family are put to the test, as well as her feelings for her new neighbor, Jonathan, and even her trust in the police themselves.

Told primarily from Sienna's viewpoint the reader is left guessing who the villain is. The author does an excellent job of creating enough red herrings that I found myself second guessing my own instincts on who the murderer was, and who was really the intended victim. The one point I found a little implausible is the relationship that quickly developed between Jonathan and Sienna. I felt a woman in her situation would not easily trust, if only because she often doubted her own sanity. Beyond that, the characters were well developed and memorable and the ending while not a surprise to me, made me appreciate those plausible red herrings.

An entertaining who-dun-it, with a twist, I recommend THE LOOK-ALIKE TO fans of mysteries and suspense.

Terrie Figueroa