Look out for Mary Kubica’s new electrifying tale of suspense, When the Lights Go Out, coming soon!
Read the bestseller everyone is talking about!
“A cleverly constructed suspense thriller.” —Chicago Tribune, Printer’s Row
“A twisty, roller coaster ride of a debut. Fans of Gone Girl will embrace this equally evocative tale.” —Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Riveting psychological thriller.”—Lisa Scottoline, New York Times bestselling author on Don’t You Cry
“I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”
One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.
When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.
An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a propulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems.
“Kubica’s powerful debut…will encourage comparisons to Gone Girl.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A high-intensity thriller, a psychological puzzle that will keep readers on their toes.”—BookPage
Read the New York Times bestselling follow-up novel Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica.
Look for Mary’s latest complex and addictive tale of deceit and obsession, Don’t You Cry.
Order your copies today!
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About the Author
Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of THE GOOD GIRL and PRETTY BABY. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children and enjoys photography, gardening and caring for the animals at a local shelter.
Read an Excerpt
I'm sitting at the breakfast nook sipping from a mug of cocoa when the phone rings. I'm lost in thought, staring out the back window at the lawn that now, in the throes of an early fall, abounds with leaves. They're dead mostly, some still clinging lifelessly to the trees. It's late afternoon. The sky is overcast, the temperatures doing a nosedive into the forties and fifties. I'm not ready for this, I think, wondering where in the world the time has gone. Seems like just yesterday we were welcoming spring and then, moments later, summer.
The phone startles me and I'm certain it's a telemarketer, so I don't initially bother to rise from my perch. I relish the last few hours of silence I have before James comes thundering through the front doors and intrudes upon my world, and the last thing I want to do is waste precious minutes on some telemarketer's sales pitch that I'm certain to refuse.
The irritating noise of the phone stops and then starts again. I answer it for no other reason than to make it stop.
"Hello?" I ask in a vexed tone, standing now in the center of the kitchen, one hip pressed against the island.
"Mrs. Dennett?" the woman asks. I consider for a moment telling her that she's got the wrong number, or ending her pitch right there with a simple not interested. "This is she."
"Mrs. Dennett, this is Ayanna Jackson." I've heard the name before. I've never met her, but she's been a constant in Mia's life for over a year now. How many times have I heard Mia say her name: Ayanna and I did this Ayanna and I did that . She is explaining how she knows Mia, how the two of them teach together at the alternative high school in the city. "I hope I'm not interrupting anything," she says.
I catch my breath. "Oh, no, Ayanna, I just walked in the door," I lie.
Mia will be twenty-five in just a month: October 31st. She was born on Halloween and so I assume Ayanna has called about this. She wants to plan a partya surprise party?for my daughter.
"Mrs. Dennett, Mia didn't show up for work today," she says.
This isn't what I expect to hear. It takes a moment to regroup. "Well, she must be sick," I respond. My first thought is to cover for my daughter; she must have a viable explanation why she didn't go to work or call in her absence. My daughter is a free spirit, yes, but also reliable.
"You haven't heard from her?"
"No," I say, but this isn't unusual. We go days, sometimes weeks, without speaking. Since the invention of email, our best form of communication has become passing along trivial forwards.
"I tried calling her at home but there's no answer."
"Did you leave a message?"
"And she hasn't called back?"
I'm listening only halfheartedly to the woman on the other end of the line. I stare out the window, watching the neighbors' children shake a flimsy tree so that the remaining leaves fall down upon them. The children are my clock; when they appear in the backyard I know that it's late afternoon, school is through. When they disappear inside again it's time to start dinner.
"Her cell phone?"
"It goes straight to voice mail."
"I left a message."
"You're certain she didn't call in today?"
"Administration never heard from her."
I'm worried that Mia will get in trouble. I'm worried that she will be fired. The fact that she might already be in trouble has yet to cross my mind.
"I hope this hasn't caused too much of a problem."
Ayanna explains that Mia's first-period students didn't inform anyone of the teacher's absence and it wasn't until second period that word finally leaked out: Ms. Dennett wasn't here today and there wasn't a sub. The principal went down to keep order until a substitute could be called in; he found gang graffiti scribbled across the walls with Mia's overpriced art supplies, the ones she bought herself when the administration said no.
"Mrs. Dennett, don't you think it's odd?" she asks. "This isn't like Mia."
"Oh, Ayanna, I'm certain she has a good excuse."
"Such as?" she asks.
"I'll call the hospitals. There's a number in her area"
"I've done that."
"Then her friends," I say, but I don't know any of Mia's friends. I've heard names in passing, such as Ayanna and Lauren and I know there's a Zimbabwean on a student visa who's about to be sent back and Mia thinks it's completely unfair. But I don't know them, and last names or contact information are hard to find.
"I've done that."
"She'll show up, Ayanna. This is all just a misunderstanding. There could be a million reasons for this."
"Mrs. Dennett," Ayanna says and it's then that it hits me: something is wrong. It hits me in the stomach and the first thought I have is myself seven or eight months pregnant with Mia and her stalwart limbs kicking and punching so hard that tiny feet and hands emerge in shapes through my skin. I pull out a barstool and sit at the kitchen island and think to myself that before I know it, Mia will be twenty-five and I haven't so much as thought of a gift. I haven't proposed a party or suggested that all of us, James and Grace and Mia and me, make reservations for an elegant dinner in the city.
"What do you suggest we do, then?" I ask.
There's a sigh on the other end of the line. "I was hoping you'd tell me Mia was with you," she says.
It's dark by the time I pull up to the house. Light pours from the windows of the English Tudor home and onto the tree-lined street. I can see a collection of people hovering inside, waiting for me. There's the judge, pacing, and Mrs. Dennett perched on the edge of an upholstered seat, sipping from a glass of something that appears to be alcoholic. There are uniformed officers and another woman, a brunette, who peers out the front window as I come to a sluggish halt in the street, delaying my grand entrance.
The Dennetts are like any other family along Chicago's North Shore, a string of suburbs that lines Lake Michigan to the north of the city. They're filthy rich. It's no wonder that I'm procrastinating in the front seat of my car when I should be making my way up to the massive home with the clout I've been led to believe I carry.
I think of the sergeant's words before assigning the case to me: Don't fuck this one up.
I eye the stately home from the safety and warmth of my dilapidated car. From the outside it's not as colossal as I envision the interior to be. It has all the old-world charm an English Tudor has to offer: half-timbering and narrow windows and a steep sloping roof. It reminds me of a medieval castle.
Though I've been strictly warned to keep it under wraps, I'm supposed to feel privileged that the sergeant assigned this highprofile case to me. And yet, for some reason, I don't.
I make my way up to the front door, cutting across the lawn to the sidewalk that leads me up two steps, and knock. It's cold. I thrust my hands into my pockets to keep them warm while I wait. I feel ridiculously underdressed in my street clotheskhaki pants and a polo shirt that I've hidden beneath a leather jacketwhen I'm greeted by one of the most influential justices of the peace in the county.
"Judge Dennett," I say, allowing myself inside. I conduct myself with more authority than I feel I have, displaying traces of self-confidence that I must keep stored somewhere safe for moments like this. Judge Dennett is a considerable man in size and power. Screw this one up and I'll be out of a job, best-case scenario. Mrs. Dennett rises from the chair. I tell her in my most refined voice, "Please, sit," and the other woman, Grace Dennett, I assume, from my preliminary researcha younger woman, likely in her twenties or early thirtiesmeets Judge Dennett and me in the place where the foyer ends and the living room begins.
"Detective Gabe Hoffman," I say, without the pleasantries an introduction might expect. I don't smile; I don't offer to shake hands. The girl says that she is in fact Grace, whom I know from my earlier legwork to be a senior associate at the law firm of Dalton & Meyers. But it takes nothing more than intuition to know from the get-go that I don't like her; there's an air of superiority that surrounds her, a looking down on my blue-collar clothing and a cynicism in her voice that gives me the willies.
Mrs. Dennett speaks, her voice still carrying a strong British accent, though I know, from my previous fact-finding expedition, that she's been in the United States since she was eighteen. She seems panicked. That's my first inclination. Her voice is high-pitched, her fingers fidgeting with anything that comes within reach. "My daughter is missing, Detective," she sputters. "Her friends haven't seen her. Haven't spoken to her. I've been calling her cell phone, leaving messages." She chokes on her words, trying desperately not to cry. "I went to her apartment to see if she was there," she says, then admits, "I drove all the way there and the landlord wouldn't let me in."
Mrs. Dennett is a breathtaking woman. I can't help but stare at the way her long blond hair falls clumsily over the conspicuous hint of cleavage that pokes through her blouse, where she's left the top button undone. I've seen pictures before of Mrs. Dennett, standing beside her husband on the courthouse steps. But the photos do nothing compared to seeing Eve Dennett in the flesh.
"When is the last time you spoke to her?" I ask. "Last week," the judge says.
"Not last week, James," Eve says. She pauses, aware of the annoyed look on her husband's face because of the interruption, before continuing. "The week before. Maybe even the one before that. That's the way our relationship is with Miawe go for weeks sometimes without speaking."
"So this isn't unusual then?" I ask. "To not hear from her for a while?"
"No," Mrs. Dennett concedes.
"And what about you, Grace?"
"We spoke last week. Just a quick call. Wednesday, I believe. Maybe Thursday. Yes, it was Thursday because she called as I was walking into the courthouse for a hearing on a motion to suppress." She throws that in, just so I know she's an attorney, as if the pin-striped blazer and leather briefcase beside her feet didn't already give that away.
"Anything out of the ordinary?"
"Just Mia being Mia."
"And that means?"
"Gabe," the judge interrupts.
"Detective Hoffman," I assert authoritatively. If I have to call him Judge he can certainly call me Detective.
"Mia is very independent. She moves to the beat of her own drum, so to speak."
"So hypothetically your daughter has been gone since Thursday?"
"A friend spoke to her yesterday, saw her at work."
"I don't know 3:00 p.m."
I glance at my watch. "So, she's been missing for twenty-seven hours?"
"Is it true that she's not considered missing until she's been gone for forty-eight hours?" Mrs. Dennett asks.
"Of course not, Eve," her husband replies in a degrading tone.
"No, ma'am," I say. I try to be extracordial. I don't like the way her husband demeans her. "In fact, the first forty-eight hours are often the most critical in missing-persons cases."
The judge jumps in. "My daughter is not a missing person. She's misplaced. She's doing something rash and negligent, something irresponsible. But she's not missing."
"Your Honor, who was the last one to see your daughter then, before she was" I'm a smart-ass and so I have to say it "misplaced?"
It's Mrs. Dennett who responds. "A woman named Ayanna Jackson. She and Mia are co-workers."
"Do you have a contact number?"
"On a sheet of paper. In the kitchen." I nod toward one of the officers, who heads into the kitchen to get it. "Is this something Mia has done before?"
"No, absolutely not."
But the body language ofJudge and Grace Dennett says otherwise.
"That's not true, Mom," Grace chides. I watch her expectantly. Lawyers just love to hear themselves speak. "On five or six different occasions Mia disappeared from the house. Spent the night doing God knows what with God knows whom."
Yes, I think to myself, Grace Dennett is a bitch. Grace has dark hair like her dad's. She's got her mother's height and her father's shape. Not a good mix. Some people might call it an hourglass figure; I probably would, too, if I liked her. But instead, I call it plump.
"That's completely different. She was in high school. She was a little naive and mischievous, but."
"Eve, don't read more into this than there is," Judge Dennett says.
"Does Mia drink?" I ask.
"Not much," Mrs. Dennett says.
"How do you know what Mia does, Eve? You two rarely speak."
She puts her hand to her face to blot a runny nose and for a moment I am so taken aback by the size of the rock on her finger that I don't hear James Dennett rambling on about how his wife had put in the call to Eddiemind you, I'm struck here by the fact that not only is the judge on a first-name basis with my boss, but he's also on a nickname basisbefore he got home. Judge Dennett seems convinced that his daughter is out for a good time, and that there's no need for any official involvement.
"You don't think this is a case for the police?" I ask.
"Absolutely not. This is an issue for the family to handle."
"How is Mia's work ethic?"
"Excuse me?" the judge retorts as wrinkles form across his forehead and he rubs them away with an aggravated hand.
"Her work ethic. Does she have a good employment history? Has she ever skipped work before? Does she call in often, claim she's sick when she's not?"
"I don't know. She has a job. She gets paid. She supports herself. I don't ask questions."
"She loves her job. She just loves it. Teaching is what she always wanted to do."
Mia is an art teacher. High school. I jot this down in my notes as a reminder.
The judge wants to know if I think that's important. "Might be," I respond.
"And why's that?"
"Your Honor, I'm just trying to understand your daughter. Understand who she is. That's all."
Mrs. Dennett is now on the verge of tears. Her blue eyes begin to swell and redden as she pathetically attempts to suppress the tiny drips. "You think something has happened to Mia?"
I'm thinking to myself: isn't that why you called me here? You think something has happened to Mia, but instead I say, "I think we act now and thank God later when this all turns out to be a big misunderstanding. I'm certain she's fine, I am, but I'd hate to overlook this whole thing without at least looking into it." I'd kick myself ifif-it turned out everything wasn't fine.
"How long has Mia been living on her own?" I ask.
"It'll be seven years in thirty days," Mrs. Dennett states pointblank.
I'm taken aback. "You keep count? Down to the day?"
"It was her eighteenth birthday. She couldn't wait to get out of here."
"I won't pry," I say, but the truth is, I don't have to. I can't wait to get out of here, too. "Where does she live now?"
The judge responds. "An apartment in the city. Close to Clark and Addison."
I'm an avid Chicago Cubs fan and so this is thrilling for me. Just mention the words Clark or Addison and my ears perk up like a hungry puppy. "Wrigleyville. That's a nice neighborhood. Safe."
"I'll get you the address," Mrs. Dennett offers.
"I would like to check it out, if you don't mind. See if any windows are broken, signs of forced entry."
Mrs. Dennett's voice quavers as she asks, "You think someone broke into Mia's apartment?"
I try to be reassuring. "I just want to check. Mrs. Dennett, does the building have a doorman?"
"A security system? Cameras?"
"How are we supposed to know that?" the judge growls. "Don't you visit?" I ask before I can stop myself. I wait for an answer, but it doesn't come.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I thought this book was excellent!!!
Excellent Psychological Thriller! The cover and book title are genius!! Wow, I was thrown for one huge loop, when I reached the end of the book! Mia is a socialite, who doesn’t follow the norms within her family. Her father, a prominent attorney, turned judge, is very much into appearances and will stop at nothing to make sure the family name stays untainted. Mia’s mom is the perfect wife, albeit on the outside, as she does her best to keep up appearances, too. Mia has a sister, who follows the family rules and becomes an attorney herself. Mia, on the other hand, struggles as a teenager and soon cuts herself off from the family, as she pursues art and becomes a teacher for the inner-city kids. The story is told through flashbacks and present time, with the book addressing many issues: family secrets, why Mia is kidnapped, the relationship between Mia and her captor, Mia’s relationships with her family, the relationship between Mia’s parents, the justice system, and so much more. It’s a book that held my attention the whole time. Mia tries to escape her captor, but overtime, experiences the Stockholm Syndrome. What happens to Mia? What happens to the family and their public image? Who wanted Mia kidnapped? Those are just a few of the questions that will addressed in the book. It’s a book that will certainly engage the reader and offer some huge surprises along the way!
Thank you to Harlequin MIRA and NetGalley for providing an ARC, in exchange for an honest review. A Killer Debut Novel! Mary Kubica’s THE GOOD GIRL will keep you entranced from the first page to the last—where nothing is, as it appears. A world of four desperate, and complex characters, with more in common than they may think. THE GOOD GIRL takes readers from the vibrant city of Chicago, to a remote rustic cabin in the forest during the cold winter of Minnesota—where two people learn to trust one another. An intense and thought-provoking novel, ideal for book clubs and discussions. Readers will find themselves sympathizing with the two main characters, as their deepest feelings, struggles, and their dark pasts are uncovered— making for an intense page-turner mystery, you cannot put down. In a desperate attempt for retribution, the stage is set for a flawless plan of attack—kidnapping; choices are made which will forever change the lives of those involved. When fate steps in—nothing will ever be the same. Readers will be drawn into this world of intense emotion—from the alluring front cover to the funky font, carrying out the theme of this chilling and engaging tale. Told from different POV’s (Eve, Gabe, Colin) –flashing back and forth, between before and after the kidnapping; building the suspense, keeping you on the edge of your seat, with a dramatic climatic surprise ending, when we hear from Mia- what an exciting ride! Meet the Dennett’s, a family living in an elegant English Tudor home, along Chicago’s North Shore, a suburb near Lake Michigan, north of the city. They are filthy rich— as in most wealthy homes, not everything is as it seems on the exterior. With a mix of complex human dynamics, and a riveting suspense thriller, fans of Jodi Picoult, Diane Chamberlain, Liane Moriarty, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, Amy Hatvany, Ann Leary, Carla Buckley, T. Greenwood, Heather Gudenkauf, Gillian Flynn, Chevy Stevens, Julie Corbin, Lisa Gardner, Lisa Jackson, and Tess Gerritsen— will appreciate Kubica’s unique writing style, as she eloquently pulls back the tough layers piece by piece, looking deep into the soul, mind, and hearts of each of her well-developed characters. (Found myself bookmarking so many pages, as too good!). How does each person’s past shape them into the person they are today? How does each of the character’s lives change from the beginning of the book to then end? This dynamic novel is much more than a suspense thriller, a powerful novel—keeping readers thinking, long after the book ends and the lengths a person will go, in desperation, to protect their family. THE GOOD GIRL, hands down, a winner over Gone Girl. Highly recommend—looking forward to many more novels from this talented author (a sequel, perhaps)?
I’ve seen ‘The Good Girl’ advertised in many places leading to a lot of buzz but having finished it I’m not sure why. Because of the way the story goes back and forth between before and after and who is telling the story there isn’t any suspense as to what happens from nearly the beginning. The ending is a twist, but seeing as the story is so straight forward and the way the characters are acting, there can only be one of two explanations of why Mia was kidnapped and of course it’s one of those two. I wasn’t a big fan of the character (I like ones you can root for) which also added to me not caring for this book. The writing was good, but no writing can be good enough to overcome all of the books other flaws.
Excellent book. You will never guess the ending. Loved it!
I enjoyed this audiobook quite a bit. I have seen this book around but never gave it too close of a look. I noticed it recently during an audible sale and decided to listen to the sample. I was immediately sold on the book after listening to the sample. I tend to enjoy audiobooks with multiple narrators and the premise of the book sounded really interesting to me. I ended up listening to this audiobook for hours at a time and finished it in just a few days. This story is told from three main points of view. Mia's mother, Eve, describes her fear for her daughter and everything she does to try to put things back together. Detective Gabe Hoffman is the detective assigned to this case and it was really nice to get his point of view. Colin is the man that abducts Mia and his point of view was by far my favorite of the group. The three points of view jump around in time a bit. There are parts of the book that focus on before Mia was rescued and other parts that focus on after. I think that by mixing the timeline up a bit the story really became more intense. I really wanted to learn everything that had happened to Mia that caused her to be as she is in some of the scenes. The narration of the book was very well done. There were four different narrators that helped to bring this audiobook to life. Andi Arndt is one of my favorite narrators so I admit that I was a bit disappointed that she didn't narrate more of the story. She was the voice of Mia and only came into play for the epilogue. Tom Taylorson voices Colin's point of view and did a fantastic job. His parts of the story always completely held my attention. His delivery was very well done. Johnny Heller really sounded like a Detective to me and I enjoyed his sections. Lindy Nettleton narrated the sections that were from Eve's point of view. Her accent was great and she did take on the role very well. I think that her sections of the book were my least favorite but that would be due to the story instead of the narration. I would recommend this book to others. I did figure out the big twist before the end but still enjoyed the journey. I really enjoyed the fact that this was one of those books that made me really like the bad guy more than any of the other characters. The pacing was well done and I found myself very hooked by the story. I do think that I enjoyed this book a bit more on audio than I would have in print form. I plan to read more from Mary Kubica soon.
This was a great book to listen to. I was concerned since there were a few different narrators that it may get confusing but the narrators did a fantastic job in reading their respective roles. I found myself driving slower and sitting in my car a couple minutes extra so I could hear more of the story. Even though this story goes between "Before" and "After" the transitions are smooth and you do not get lost in the switch as the chapters are shorter in length, which I prefer. This book had just enough suspense for me as I am not one to grab a mystery/thriller type book. The ending was a great twist that I was not expecting so I look forward to reading more books by Mary Kubica.
If you have young children, please make sure they are fed, bathed, and tucked in for the night before you begin reading this book. The world may just cease to exist until you have consumed the very last word on the very last page of this masterpiece. And if you are like me, you will leave a little piece of your heart in that cabin, even though it feels a bit warped to do so.
Loved everything about this book! Kubica mastered the art of writing from several points of view and different time periods. I liked the details being just what you needed to get the point. I can't wait to discuss this with my book club!
I really liked this book. Lovely writing and captivating characters....the middle scenes at the cabin were a tad bit slow but the ending chapters definitely make up for it! Well worth reading. You may also like: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Farm by Tom Rob Smith.
This was a very good read. Very well written with exceptional insight into each character as the book goes on. I will be looking out for the next novel from this brilliant new author!
I was thoroughly obsessed with The Good Girl, from page one. Fantastic, original voice, pacing, plotting. But what got me good was the heart of it: the relationship between Mia and Colin from Colin's point of view. (Kidnapper and kidnapped girl.) I didn't want the story to end.
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Harlequin (UK) Limited and NetGalley.) This was an okay story, and I didn’t guess the twists at the end. I found this story a little weird, because it was told from three points of view, at two different times (before and after) and one of these points of view wasn’t the main character! Because of this, and because we were only learning about the main character by hearing what other people had to say about her, it was a little difficult to connect to her properly. I did feel quite sorry for Mia, but I also felt her behaviour became a little strange towards the end of her ordeal, although I’m guessing that her behaviour could probably be explained as Stockholm syndrome. The storyline in this was alright, although the slow pace began to irritate me after a while, and the middle of the story seemed to really drag. The end was interesting, and it wasn’t how I expected the book to end, as there were a couple of twists that I really didn’t see coming! Overall; okay mystery story, 6.5 out of 10.
Compelling read after you get into it (about 75 or so pages). I adored how the author switched points of view and you got the full story from everyone without knowing what actually happened until the very end and the end was SO shocking it left me wanting more. Definitely a good read for anyone like myself who is still searching for something that was as good as Gone Girl!
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica is one of the smartest books I've read. The first 1/3 of the book was difficult to get through, I think because of the alternating Before and After chapters and the numerous points of view, but once I caught on to the pattern, the characters came alive, and by the second half of the book, I couldn't put it down. I've heard the comparisons to Gone Girl, and though I liked Gone Girl (super-twisted), I liked The Good Girl even more. The story was more than a thriller or a mystery, but more a study of the effects a severely egotistical father has on his family, his work, and the world. And though I could sense something big coming as I read the last half, I was not prepared for the ending. It was, as I said, smart. Brilliant. If you liked Gone Girl, then it's true, you'll enjoy The Good Girl, but this story adds a whole lot of heart. I loved it and will be gifting it to friends.
This book was riveting from beginning to end. I couldn't put it down. Some might compare it to Gone Girl, but it is outstanding on its own. I look forward to more from this author.