Book Review: The Look-Alike by Erica Spindler (ARC)

The Look-Alike

Author: Erica Spindler

Publication Date: 28 January 2020

Genre: Adult Fiction – Murder Mystery/Thriller/Romantic Suspense

Pages: 320

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Other Girl and Justice for Sara comes a thrilling psychological drama about a woman who believes she escaped a brutal murder years ago—but does anyone else believe her?

Sienna Scott grew up in the dark shadow of her mother’s paranoid delusions. Now, she’s returned home to confront her past and the unsolved murder that altered the course of her life.

In her mother’s shuttered house, an old fear that has haunted Sienna for years rears its ugly head —that it was she who had been the killer’s target that night. And now, with it, a new fear—that the killer not only intended to remedy his past mistake—he’s already begun. But are these fears any different from the ones that torment her mother?

As the walls close in, the line between truth and lie, reality and delusion disintegrate. Has Sienna’s worst nightmare come true? Or will she unmask a killer and finally prove she may be her mother’s look-alike, but she’s not her clone?

I was initially drawn to The Look-Alike because of the synopsis. I love books that delve into psychological disorders. Throw a murder mystery on top of it, and I was sold.

Ten years ago, Sienna leaves her study group like she does every Wednesday around midnight to walk home. With a blizzard in full force, Sienna keeps her head down to hurry home until she quite literally stumbles upon a brutally murdered body. Sienna recognizes the girl as one of her classmates that works at the library. Once Sienna realizes that the dead girl is wearing a white parka that is identical to her own, she can’t help but wonder if she was the intended target since the path is her typical route home every Wednesday night. Unable to shake the thought, her father decides it’s best for Sienna to live with her grandmother in London because after all, Sienna does not want to become her mother.

In present day, Sienna has finally decided to return home to Tranquility Bluffs after all of these years to take care of her mother Vivian who suffers from severe paranoid delusions. She returns to find that Madison’s case has been reopened since a formal arrest was never made. Sienna’s thoughts of her being the intended victim start swirling again especially after she starts receiving disturbing phone calls. Is Sienna becoming finally succumbing to the paranoia or was she supposed to die all those years ago?

This book was one heck of a wild ride with so many twists and turns along the way. I thought the plot was fast-paced and gripping. I also really enjoyed the romance storyline between Sienna and Jonathan because it really gives you an insight into how guarded Sienna has had to be because of the paranoid world she was raised in due to her mother’s illness. I loved the relationship between Sienna and her older half brother Brad. Brad has always had to protect his sister as per their father’s wishes, so watching the struggle and love between them was both understandable and relatable.

Vivian’s character was absolutely fascinating because her mental illness would have her lucid one moment to descending into full blown delusions the next. It was was both heartbreaking and intriguing because no one could see what Vivian was seeing. Additionally, Vivian’s mental illness affected everyone around her, which allowed for blurring of reality and the events that have taken place. This left me guessing everything that I was reading. By the end of this book my heart ached for Sienna, Brad, and Vivian.

Overall, if you’re looking for an engrossing, page turner that features a murder mystery, complicated family dynamics, mental illness, and a dash of romance, definitely check this one out!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for my review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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