You Can Never Tell: A Novel

Image of You Can Never Tell: A Novel
Release Date: 
August 10, 2021
Crooked Lane Books
Reviewed by: 

Kacy Tremaine and her husband Michael have escaped a bad situation in New Jersey, where Kacy was betrayed by her best friend and lost her job and future in the art world. They run to a suburb in Texas, where they desire a fresh start. Michael has found a good job, but Kacy, shunned from her career, isn’t sure what to do with her life anymore.

“Could I just go back to my maiden name or pretend to be someone else? Sure, if I also wanted to drop evidence of my degree, my work history, any of the things necessary to actually get a job in my field. Either I was myself—with the skills and experience and baggage of my past—or I was no one.”

Shaken and untrusting, Kacy finds it hard to relate to anyone until she meets her next-door neighbor, a charismatic woman named Lena, who helps Kacy come out of her shell. Gradually, Kacy begins to make friends, including Elizabeth, the wife of one of Michael’s coworkers, and starts to forge a new life, until people in her small suburb begin to go missing. Is it safe in their new home? Should they stay? Kacy believes she and Michael are in this together, until he comes home covered in blood, and Kacy has to rethink everything.

Interspersed with “recordings” from a true crime podcast covering the murders, the reader learns how Kacy’s past destroyed her life, and how she fits in with the people and circumstances in her new town. The podcasters give snippets of information and insight that add to the story, and offer a bit of humor to a grim narrative.

“Helen: This is a story about friends.

Julia: Friends like us.

Helen: Not exactly like us.

Julia: Hey, I’ve always said I’d kill for you.”

Kacy is a complex character trying to figure out her life, and the people around her bring out the complicated world of suburbia. Readers who enjoy psychological thrillers, unique bits—like the podcasters, and domestic issues—will have fun with this book. It is a quick read that pulls you in, making for a real page-turner.