Primary Genre(s): Fiction, Psychological, Paranormal, Mystery, Suspense
Published: 3 March 2020 by Gallery Books
Page count: 341
My Format: eARC via NetGalley
Ending: Not bad, a little meh
Would I recommend it: Maybe
Commission Link: Buy Please See Us
My rating: ★★☆☆☆
Synopsis from Goodreads
In this sophisticated, suspenseful debut, two young women become unlikely friends during one fateful summer in Atlantic City as mysterious disappearances hit dangerously close to home.
Summer has come to Atlantic City but the boardwalk is empty of tourists, the casino lights have dimmed, and two Jane Does are laid out in the marshland behind the Sunset Motel, just west of town. Only one person even knows they are there.
Meanwhile, Clara, a young boardwalk psychic, struggles to attract clients for the tarot readings that pay her rent. When she begins to experience very real and disturbing visions, she suspects they could be related to the recent cases of women gone missing in town. When Clara meets Lily, an ex-Soho art gallery girl who is working at a desolate spa and reeling from a personal tragedy, she thinks Lily may be able to help her. But Lily has her own demons to face. If they can put the pieces together in time, they may save another lost girl – so long as their efforts don’t attract perilous attention first. Can they break the ill-fated cycle, or will they join the other victims.
I struggled a bit with this book. Here are my pros and cons for Please See Us:
- The description of Atlantic City – desolate, abandoned, forsaken – was one of the best things about the book. It certainly wasn’t an inviting description, but it was so well done that I really felt like I was experiencing the hopeless and weary atmosphere while reading the story.
- The title is haunting and has multiple meanings in my opinion. Excellent title.
- Clara was the most well-developed character in the book. She was the most human to me, probably because she felt fragile and forgotten.
- This story is dark. It is depressing, sad, demeaning, violent, and hopeless. Everything is a tragedy. Even a bit of happiness once in a while would have been nice.
- In general, I thought the characterizations were lacking. Even though I thought Clara was the most well-developed, even she felt a bit lacking to me. We get a smidgen of backstory for the two main girls – Lily and Clara – but not nearly enough. There wasn’t enough information about Lily for me to like or even care about her and the other characters in the book were essentially unnecessary. There are Jane Does in this story that I was supposed to sympathize with, too, but even their stories didn’t really impact me. Of course, I hated they were dead, but that is about it. The story needed a lot more character development.
- This isn’t a thriller and the mystery part isn’t that interesting. You know that women are getting murdered, but you don’t know why and the story doesn’t seem to want to know why either. There is no active investigation because the book isn’t about that. And honestly, I’m not 100% sure what the book is supposed to be about.
- The pacing is slow!! Almost nothing happens until the last 25% of the book and even that wasn’t thrilling or exciting at all.
It took me a long time to finish this book. I can typically read a book of this size in 2 days max… this one took 19 days. 19 days!!! It just wasn’t holding my interest because nothing really happens through a lot of the book and everything is so dark and sad. This is described as a fast paced psychological thriller and that is simply not the case.
This particular book was only just okay for me. I appear to be in the minority with that opinion, and honestly, I am glad other people enjoyed this book more than I did. That said, I do see a glimmer of promise in the storytelling ability of this author and I will very likely read future books she writes.
Thank you NetGalley and Gallery Books for a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy Please See Us. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
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(image from Goodreads)