ARC (Advanced Reader Copy), Fiction, Mystery, Suspense

214 Palmer Street, by Karen McQuestion

AVAILABLE April 5, 2022

Imagine you’re trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle. You have no idea what it is supposed to look like. Painstakingly, you continue working. When you’re about 30% done the frustration really starts. What is it supposed to be?

Unfortunately, that is my metaphor for this book.

214 Palmer Street is a book that required a lot of patience. I doubt I would’ve finished it if it wasn’t for my agreement with NetGalley to review it. By one-third completed, I was still full of questions, confused by so many characters, and getting whiplash by the POV format that jumped from one person to another. Finally, finally the pieces started to fit together. But the more they did, the more predictable it became. By then I just didn’t care.

Sarah Aden is seen lurking inside the house of Josh and Cady Caldwell. They’re on vacation. A neighbor is suspicious. Who is this woman and why is she there? We discover Sarah is recovering from a head injury–an assault–and is becoming more and more mistrusting of her husband, Kirk. She’s discovering things about his past that do not add up.

Over time, more characters are added. Each tells their part of their story, pressing the rewind button on tedious scenes you just read. Then there’s the mysterious, unnamed “Her,” who I first assumed was one person and then changed my opinion (correctly.) All of the main characters are terrible people. Even the protagonist, Sarah, was unlikable.

This is my third Karen McQuestion book and, sadly, my least favorite. There’s no real hope, no real solution, no hero. I do not have a lot of experience with the suspense genre, but I know readers need something more than what we get here. I longed for a strong character to be the moral center, but there was none.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the advanced copy. I wish I enjoyed this one more.

7/10 Stars

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