Ava Garrison is a fractured and grieving woman. It’s been two years since her two year old son Noah mysteriously vanished from her house on Church Island, off the Washington coast. With no ransom ever requested and no corpse ever found, police investigations had ended in a blind alley of volatile clues without offering any hope of closure, the kidnapping lead abandoned in favor of a most certain accidental death. Almost likely the little boy had wandered off the house, reached the docks and found his death in the cold waters. The loss and lack of closure had apparently been too much to handle, even for a once self-driven, successful and ruthless business woman like Ava. What’s left of that dynamo of business savvy and sex-appeal is a woman tormented by guilt, pills-induced hallucinations, and a huge mental/emotional block that is preventing her from discerning dreams and blurred memories from reality. The collusive and secretive attitude of her very husband, family members and household staff, will trap her in a state of unknowing and unmistakable feeling of being framed in an artfully orchestrated conspiracy. When she decides to interrupt her psychiatric therapy and wisely stops using tranquilizers and anti-depressants, her mind breaks through the fog and gets a hold of a thread that will lead her (through unimaginable twist-and-turns and unfathomable discoveries about her family and friends) to the truth about her son’s disappearance. Help will come from Austin Dern, a mysterious handyman hired by her husband to take care of the estate, a complete stranger but ironically the only person on the island Ava can really trust.
In this intense, pulse-racing suspense novel, prolific author Lisa Jackson had me at the prologue. The initial pages are emotionally charged and really set the tone for the entire book: the heart-wrenching description of Ava’s “deep seated and painful grief”, her feelings of helplessness and guilt, in addition to the anguished replaying of that terrible tragedy in her nightmares, pierced through my heart and immediately propelled me in Ava’s personal hell. What I found endearing about this character is also the way her traumatic experience redefines her personality without crashing her headstrong core and unyielding hope. The tragedy stirs Ava’s life from a torturing pattern of self-doubt to a path of clarity and disambiguation, where several veils will drop on the real substance of her family and friendship relations.
The Verdict: You Don’t Want To Know is a heart-stopping mystery laced with a tenuous romance, but it doesn’t lack the intensity and the heart-warming emotions typical of a romantic suspense novel. I would highly recommend it to a wide range of readers, from those who love a good straight psychological thriller to those who always appreciate a touch of romance.
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Zebra Books
Author: Lisa Jackson