You Can Never Tell

by Sarah Warburton

3/5 stars
Find it on Goodreads!

Kacy and her husband Michael move to Texas for a fresh start following a devastating betrayal by her “best friend” that completely railroaded her career and made her a pariah in her industry. Just when Kacy starts to feel comfortable and begin to trust her new neighbors, the young couple makes another life-changing discovery about the people to whom they are closest. Alternating between Kacy’s story and a true crime podcast recounting the movements of a serial killer couple, we come to understand that the two stories are inextricably linked and the people in the story are not entirely what they seem.

The overall story is more like a 4/5 star – I was ON. THE. HOOK. I listened to the audiobook and basically had my earbuds in for most of a Sunday while I did chores around the house. I guess that’s the equivalent of “couldn’t put it down.” There is a good deal of tension and you know this is building to something. I cared about our protagonists and the outcome of their predicament. I wanted to see Kacy thrive and make a way for herself in this new life. But there were several things that knocked this to a 3 star book for me.

First of all, I found the podcast chapters to be really repetitive and mostly just rehashed the crimes of other serial killers. It was a clever way of trying to incorporate this popular media, but I don’t think it really added much to the story and often it just kind of took me out of the action.

Also, there was a lot of set up in the beginning of the book around Kacy being betrayed by her supposed best friend, essentially blowing up her entire life and I thought it was setting Kacy up as an unreliable narrator, but then it never really went anywhere. I get that ultimately it was supposed to highlight how difficult it was for Kacy to trust again, but it was just… a lot.

One of the major plot points, which I will not discuss in detail because I don’t do spoilers, hinges on a choice that just doesn’t make sense. It was just a convenient decision by a character that helped move the story along but I don’t think this character would have ever actually made this choice, and in fact there is speculation in the narrative about why this choice is made, but then it’s never really addressed again and is just left as this open thread.

Finally, I was expecting there to be something more happening. Ultimately the whole thing was pretty straightforward. I kept thinking there would be a twist of some kind. Like, even when I was pretty sure I already knew who the serial killers were, I kept thinking to myself, well maybe it’s actually “insert couple here” because this is too obvious and that would be a real twist. The story was still very compelling but fell a little flat for me in the end. Maybe I’ve just read too many mysteries lately.

And to be clear, 3 stars isn’t bad, I enjoyed this novel, it’s good, I just think it could have been great and it wasn’t.

Thank you to Netgalley and Dreamscape Media for providing me with an advanced copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

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