In the 1990s I read several titles by Patricia MacDonald. They were all suspense novels that I quite enjoyed. So… when I saw a book by this author offered on NetGalley, I jumped to request it, to see if I still appreciated this author’s work.
Gladly, I found I do! “Don’t believe a word” is a fast-paced suspense novel that held my interest throughout.
When we first meet Eden Radley, our protagonist, she is living in Brooklyn, New York and working as an associate editor for a small publishing house. Quite a coup, as she is only twenty-seven years old. She is quite close to her father, but is mostly estranged from her mother who left the family to marry a younger man – back when Eden was still a teenager.
Her mother has not had an easy time of it however, as she gave birth to a son with Katz-Ellison disease. When she tries to get in touch with Eden, Eden refuses. She still harbors resentment for her mother’s abandonment.
Then, the worst happens. Eden is told that her mother and young step-brother have perished in a ‘murder-suicide’. Her mother’s husband was out of town at the time that they were both asphyxiated by carbon monoxide. Eden travels to Cleveland for their funeral and suffers extreme guilt for not accepting her mother’s wish for a closer relationship. Now… it is too late.
Back in New York, her boss calls her in to his office. It seems that her stepfather has written a biographical novel about his life with her mother and their young, disabled son. He has requested that Eden be his editor. Given the fact that the ‘murder-suicide’ has recently been newsworthy, the novel comes with built-in PR. The offer is a double-edged sword for Eden. If she agrees to work on the book, she will feel like a traitor to her father. If she doesn’t work on the book, she will kiss any career aspirations good-bye.
Against her better judgement, she travels to Cleveland once again to meet with Flynn Darby, her stepfather – whom she never met until her mother’s funeral. While there she is visited by some insurance investigators who let her know that they are looking into Flynn Darby’s claim on the multi-million dollar life insurance policy on her mother’s and step-brother’s life. She realizes that Darby has used her. Now that she has signed the contract to act as his editor, she cannot help them in their investigation which has now raised a red flag to Eden. After some questioning of her mother’s friends and doctor, Eden goes to the police with her concerns. She is firmly sent away with the words “Case Closed”.
She believes Flynn Darby’s alibi to be suspect. She is sure that her mother would never harm her young son, no matter how desperate she might have become. With her career in jeopardy, Eden tries to seek justice for her mother and step-brother and succeeds in putting herself in mortal danger.
“Don’t believe a word” is a quick, enjoyable read. Like any suspense novel worth its salt, it contains a few plot twists that I did not anticipate – which in turn led to a satisfactory ending. I think anyone who enjoys the suspense genre will appreciate this book.
From Severn House Publishers:
Patricia Macdonald‘s darkly hypnotic tales have captivated readers across America, as well as in France, where she is a #1 bestselling author. Her previous novels include Suspicious Origin, Stranger in the House, Not Guilty, and the Edgar Award-nominated The Unforgiven. She lives with her husband and daughter in New Jersey, where she is working on her next novel.