Monday, August 17, 2015

Someone I Used to Know by David J. Bell

Release Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: NAL/Penguin
Author Website:

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Nick Hansen's live was never the same after the loss of his college sweetheart in a terrible accident on campus. His only marriage fell apart, his connection to his step-son was lost and the only companion who withstood him was his dog. All this filled his time until the day he saw a young woman in the grocery store who was a carbon copy of his lost love. When he moved to talk to her, she bolted from the store and left him with a thousand different questions.

When the police arrived on his doorstep the following morning, Nick realized he was now in the middle of something far bigger than he ever imagined. As he followed his own leads, more pieces to the puzzle showed Nick that he may not have known the people he loved as well as he first thought. New questions about events in the past sent him into situations that threatened his mind and body. Can he discover who the mysterious woman in the grocery was before it's too late? Will he be able to free his name and reputation from the suspicions?

A good friend of mine introduced me to the author's work a year or so before NetGalley offered this title for reading and reviewing. Once I read the notice that this book was open for reviews, I immediately requested a copy. I honestly didn't know what to expect as the story unfolded with the main character, Nick Hansen, walking through his local grocery store after work. A regular, average person living a fairly boring life, Nick knew his day would end with a few brews and some quality time with his dog. That plan flew out the window when he noticed a young woman who was the spitting image of his college sweetheart. Now, that wouldn't be such a shock to the system except for the fact that his old college love had been dead for two decades.

Right away Nick's past came alive, impacting the present day in such a way that everything he experienced became a character itself. The ghost of his college love made her presence known in nearly every interaction that Nick had with someone else. Whether by name or recollection, she became central to the story in almost a "Six Degrees of Bacon" kind of way. Nick's attachment and reluctance to move on played major roles in his relationships. Most of the characters reacted as I expected they would, but a few of them felt a little flat. I'm not sure if I expected too much of them or if they were written that way on purpose. Possibly a bit of both.

Alongside the baggage Nick brought to the table, this book explored the depths of young love, its impact on the lives it touched, and how the effects last well past the expiration of the relationship. The way Nick's mind locked certain memories into place colored how he viewed the world and people around him. His outlook shifted into a black or white type of thinking. There was right and wrong, no matter what the circumstances that surrounded the choices. With such a narrowed world view, the new revelations shook his world and his confidence. Dark secrets revealed themselves and showcased how the consequences of a single action cascades over everyone tied to those involved. Those consequences came full circle as the book directed the reader through its maze of right or wrong choices.

Overall, I thought the book was really engaging from the first chapter. Once I started reading, I wanted to know more with the end of each chapter. Fewer principal characters made this story tight and kept it on course. For a majority of the book, I had an uneasy feeling that something major was hiding from view. It's similar to watching scary movies late at night with no lights on while you're alone. You just know someone's lingering in the shadows, but you can't quite make them out. There was a point when I began to suspect that I knew what was going to happen. Some of the theories I had in mind presented themselves, but I couldn't predict everything in the end. If you like a book full of twists and turns or want something to keep you guessing until that last paragraph, take a chance on this book!

Someone I Used to Know by David J. Bell is currently available in various forms at many online retailers and local bookstores. Copies can be purchased in paperback, audio-book and digital (Kindle) formats. The following link provided below brings up the book's page at Amazon.
Someone I Used to Know by David J. Bell

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