You Are Not Alone

Image of You Are Not Alone: A Novel
Release Date: 
March 3, 2020
St. Martin's Press
Reviewed by: 

“Suspense the way it's meant to be, bit by bit, drop by drop.”

The bland marketing materials and cover copy promoting this sensational book don't do it justice. It's so much more than a story of lifestyle envy.

The suspense begins after a brief pithy setup and doesn't ease up for more than 350 pages. Is there a more apt superlative than riveting? Captivating works, because readers are taken hostage on page one.

Meet the indomitable women that inhabit this book:

Shay –Thirty-one years old. A data junkie recently downsized from her job. Between jobs, between boyfriends, between apartments, bereft of close friends, she's simply trying to get along, carry her own load, find a place to fit in. Traumatized after witnessing a suicide while waiting for a subway train.

"We lock eyes. The train appears in the mouth of the tunnel. Then she leaps. For a split second she seems frozen, suspended in the air, her arms thrown overhead like a dancer."

Amanda–Age twenty-nine, single, childless. She's the one who jumps onto the subway tracks after ripping off a necklace with a hidden GPS tracking device.

Cassandra and Jane—Their New York apartment is as sleek and elegant as they are. Wealthy and ultra-fashionable, their presence turns heads wherever they go. So used to this kind of attention, the sisters barely acknowledge it anymore. This dynamic duo heads a successful boutique PR firm they started In their mid-twenties. They've methodically assembled a wide circle of women friends.

Stacey—Age twenty-nine. High school dropout with a GED. Turned herself into a cybersecurity consultant. Savvy enough to install a security camera on a streetlight with secret remote access. Small and scrappy, rough, tough, and profane, she is someone whom people underestimate, especially her razor-sharp mind. She's the one who hacked into Amanda's laptop.

Daphne—A thirty-two-year old sophisticate. Buttery blond with flawless makeup, always camera ready. Owns a chic women's boutique. A promising blind date with a charming handsome guy goes downhill fast.

Beth—From Boston, age thirty-four. A public defense attorney. Despite her flustered demeanor and messy handbag, she has a sharp, uncanny intuition about people.

Valerie—Former actress in Los Angeles. Moved to New York to work for Cassandra and Jane's successful PR firm. Assists them with many professional and personal assignments. A natural chameleon, able to blend into any scenario.

Willow—Artist and gallery owner. Profiled in New York magazine. Wearing a midnight-black dress, her blunt bob dyed white-blond, thick red liner winging her eyes, makes her as compelling as her creations. Layered into her paint strokes are feathers, typewriter keys, a dried mushroom, fisheyes, silver mercury from a thermometer.

"As with all of Willow's work, the seemingly disparate elements share a common denominator. They are all linked to death. Even the typewriter key is from the typewriter of a serial killer."

Who are these women? What are they up to?

Cassandra has given them the same necklace Amanda was wearing, one she designed specifically to protect them from the sometimes dangerous work they do. Remember, Amanda threw hers away before she jumped in front of that train.

After Shay falls into the group's orbit, her life is never the same. "The sisters are stealthily ransacking Shay's life—scouring the internet for every wisp of her electronic footprints, dissecting her routines, canvassing her contacts, and delving into her background."

Why all the secrecy and deception?

"Look, I know things spiraled out of control," Jane said. "It's no secret that Amanda was upset by our . . . experience . . . We all wish she'd come to us instead of shutting us out . . . But we have to consider the possibility that Amanda may have talked to someone about our group."


"When the sisters checked the location of Amanda's tracker on their phones a few days after her suicide, they expected to see nothing: surely the necklace had been destroyed. . . .

"But a gray marker on Jane's phone screen revealed the tracker was transmitting from just a few blocks away from the Thirty-third Street subway station, in a small apartment building on Murry Hill."

The authors sprinkle clues throughout like the breadcrumbs dropped by Hansel and Gretel, but don't beat yourself up for not seeing them. They are woven into the story so well readers won't even know they're clues. But at story's end, those same clues pop right off the page like flashing neon lights.

Note to readers: Drop what you're doing and run right out to buy this book from your favorite independent bookstore before they're sold out!

It doesn't get better than this. Mystery writing at its finest. Suspense the way it's meant to be, bit by bit, drop by drop.