Release Date: Sep 1, 2020
Publisher: Penguin Group
Jenna Lawson is a busy emergency medicine doctor, wife, and mother of two. Jenna has it all, but her life is beginning to unravel because of a stalker who has been harassing and threatening her for the last year. Then things start to escalate and Jenna starts to fear for the safety of her children. The police are no help since they can’t prove who is behind the threats, but Jenna is convinced she knows who is stalking her. Unexpected circumstances give Jenna the opportunity to take matters into her own hands, but will she be able to finally resolve the matter or will her actions make things even worse..
One Step Behind is a standalone mystery/suspense novel told from two points of view. One point of view is Sophie’s, both in the present dealing with a controlling boyfriend, and in the past with a difficult childhood and an adopted younger brother having troubles adjusting to his new home. The other point of view is Jenna’s, who narrates the story as if she is talking to her stalker, which is an unusual technique that helps show how much the stalking is taking over Jenna’s whole life. At first it’s hard to see how Sophie and Jenna’s chapters connect, but it is eventually revealed as the story unfolds.
My favorite part of the book is the way the tension builds throughout the story. More and more of Jenna’s life starts to suffer due to the stress of constantly being on guard and because of her determination to stop the stalker. I have mixed feelings about her husband Stuart, who sometimes seems so supportive but other times is judgmental. In fact, there are a few other supporting characters in the book that are hard to like. It makes for some frustrating reading at times, but opens up the suspect pool as to who is stalking Jenna and why. I was engaged in the story and hoped that Jenna could figure things out before her or someone close to her got hurt. She is flawed, but is still someone I was rooting for.
There is a lot of drama and creepiness towards the end of the book. There are a few different plot twists, some of which I predicted and a couple that completely took me by surprise. The ending is unsettling and although it resolves most unanswered questions, it’s more ambiguous than I prefer. However, when I consider the book as a whole, it entertained me, kept me in suspense, and provided a few surprises at the end. I wasn’t familiar with this author before, but I will keep an eye out for future books by Lauren North.