Mary Reviews: Not That I Could Tell

Book Title: Not That I Could Tell
Author: Jessica Strawser
Series: None
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Domestic Drama
Pub Date: 03/27/18

When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.

By Monday morning, one of them is gone.

Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own.

As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.


Wine with friends in the yard, feeling guilty because you aren’t tending to your families, work, endless piles of laundry, replying to emails, but you NEED this, a drink among friends to chat and refuel. You deserve this.  Girls night out, it’s therapy for the discount price of a couple bottles of wine. You drink, unwind, laugh, vent, listen and support each other.  It’s the beauty of friendship, it refills what life drains.

When Clara invited Kristin and the girls over to christen her new patio, she felt the surge of friendship and realized how lucky she was that they all lived in such close proximity to one another.  The conversation flowed with the wine and as inhibitions faltered, secrets were shared as often happens among friends. Desires for a new career, confessions about past indiscretions, and hopes for the future were all revealed.

With the sobering pains of a hangover the next day, came feelings of regret and embarrassment.  Had too much been shared? The pouring rain provided the perfect excuse to remain reclusive and recover.  Some tended to their hangovers while others tended to their children through the pain of their hangover (been there, it’s not something I’d wish on my worst enemy).

What none of the women noticed after they left the patio that night, or as they recovered the next day, was that Kristin had disappeared.

When Monday morning came, everyone fell into their familiar weekday routines of heading to work, making breakfast and lunches, dropping kids off at school, and trying to complete the never-ending list of tasks that fill up their days.  Everyone, but Kristin.  An average Monday morning quickly turned into a missing person’s investigation and life as Clara and her friends knew it would never be the same.

The presence of Kristin’s soon to be ex-husband, Paul was unnerving. The fact that he had taken up residence, keeping watch for her return in the house that Kristin had walked out of just nights before to join her friends in Clara’s backyard seemed surreal.  His concern, though visible, felt loaded.  There was something about Paul and his demeanor that set her on edge. Clara couldn’t help but question his sincerity.

As the police investigation into Kristin’s disappearance grows, so do Clara’s suspicions.  The more she digs into Kristin and Paul’s life together, the more she realizes how little she’d actually known her friend at all.  With each secret she uncovers, more questions arise as well as an increasing sense of dread about Kristin’s fate.

NOT THAT I COULD TELL is a must read. It starts with wine around a fire and develops into a suspense filled whodunnit.  What’s not to love I ask you?! Reminiscent of Big Little Lies, this story highlights the strength and ferocity of friendships among women and the ties that bind us.  NOT THAT I COULD TELL is a 3-star read that pairs well with Ravenswood Cabernet and a cozy fire.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy.


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