The author is a friend, former colleague, and a homegirl and I was thrilled when she landed a book deal with a big house and more excited to be at her book signing debut. However, there was a lot of anxiety about this first novel mostly because she and I are old pals and what if I didn't like her book?
Now when asked to be an early reader prior to publication, I am always straightforward with notes and opinions even if they might sting a little. If I'm not honest at this point, it serves no one well and it's a waste of everyone's time to tell a friend their work is better than I really think it is. Certainly they may not agree with my suggestions but at least I've been square with them and fulfilled my duty.
However, post-pub is a little dicier, especially since I write about what I read on occasion. I will confess, there was a time or two that I chickened out completely and that was just an awful feeling. The faint praise I was able to muster coupled with not writing about it here was, well, it was miserable. Miserable and obvious.
Happily that was not the case with Almost Missed You, a gripping tale of betrayal, grief, and kidnapping. It is a taut, tangled tale of deep friendships and dark secrets (my, how alliterative I am this morning!). Strawser offers up a worst-case scenario that somehow manages to worsen and which threatens everyone involved. When I felt certain I knew where this was going, it didn't and I found that quite skillful.
I will say that had it not been written by a friend, I'm not sure I would have found this book but I'm so glad I did. She'll have another book coming out in 2018. Jump on the bandwagon now.