By Caitlin Mullen
Rating: 4.5/5 Stairs
Expected publication: 3 March 2020
In this sophisticated, suspenseful debut reminiscent of Laura Lippman and Chloe Benjamin, 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’re 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 casino 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?
Evocative, eerie, and compelling, Please See Us is a fast-paced psychological thriller that explores the intersection of womanhood, power, and violence.
A great, suspenseful thriller to read in 2020.
What I enjoyed most about Please See Us was the alternating narratives. We learn the stories of each Jane Doe waiting in the marsh to be discovered. Clara’s struggle as a young psychic trying to save enough money to leave Atlantic City. Lily’s desire to escape her humiliating break up with her ex in NYC and figure out her next steps. And misunderstood Luis – a native who is sad to see his beloved city continue to fall into ruin.
The alternating perspectives not only gives insight into the main characters, but also gives the reader empathy for the Jane Doe victims. No longer just unknown women in the marsh, each one has her unique and sad story.
Even though there are several different story lines going on, Clara is the central point that pulls everything together. As women continue to disappear, Clara becomes more anxious to figure out what her visions mean to stop the next one. As she gets more desperate, the story builds to a nail-biting, page-turning ending.
Ms. Mullen does an excellent job pulling the reader in to this story. I was hooked from page one. A great debut.
Many thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book.