A single mother battles the seduction of her dark side in this gripping and easily devoured novel from Carey (The Boy on the Bridge). Liz Kendall’s ex-husband, Marc, is a violent abuser, and gentle Liz is forced to physically retaliate against him in order to protect herself and her two children, six-year-old Molly and 16-year-old Zac. Following that incident, a newfound rage boils over each time she is under pressure, and this side of her gradually develops into a vicious second personality called Beth. While seeking help from a doctor, her family meets Fran Watts, a kidnapping victim who’s grappling with hallucinations and memory loss. Fran, sick of feeling debilitated, befriends Zac and enlists him to help her research her kidnapper and restore her shaky memory. Fran’s own coping mechanism arrives in the form of an imaginary friend who directly opposes Fran’s confrontation of her painful past. When Marc threatens Liz again, Beth expels Liz and takes control, with devastating consequences. Both Liz and Fran must find a way to bridge the fissures of their minds before Beth causes irreparable damage. Carey’s mastery of tension and diversity of voice will keep readers engaged until the well-earned ending, and his handling of mental illness is nuanced without romanticizing or sensationalizing trauma. This intense thriller shows human nature in all its grimness and glory. (Nov.)
The author of The Girl with all the Gifts is back with a mind-blowing psychological thriller. Liz, a recently divorced mother of two, snaps when her ex-husband brings her kids back late one weekend. He assaults her, and this time, finally, she fights back. But it isn't Liz who bloodies him—it's Beth, Liz's other self. At Liz's psychiatrist's office, her teenage son Zac befriends a classmate he sees across the waiting room, Fran. Still in therapy from a kidnapping that happened years ago, Fran is the only person who can see Liz and Beth at the same time, and she is terrified. This is a horror tale of two characters who have dual selves in order to survive trauma. Liz and Fran's experiences are similar and eerily connected through the same location—the run-down Perry Friendly hotel in Pittsburgh. The two teens try to find out why Liz isn't acting like herself, and barely make it out alive. Like the author's previous novel, this thriller is teen-friendly. Fran and Zac investigate on their own, travel to courthouses and prisons, and don't put much trust in adults. Adult characters are well developed. Liz's other personality, Beth, acts like the mom no teenager would ever want to have, while Fran's father is ideal. The author incorporates the Abenaki Indian legend of a skadegamutc, a ghost-witch, into the paranormal elements. VERDICT Highly recommended for all horror and psychological thriller collections.—Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL
After fending off a brutal attack by her ex-husband, a woman fears for her sanity. The truth is something far more terrifying.
Liz Kendall is no stranger to her ex-husband's flying fists, but after one of Marc's weekends with the kids, she dares to speak up about him getting them home late. She had, evidently, "lost the habit of victimhood somewhere." All hell breaks loose, and Liz finds herself on the floor with Marc's hands around her neck. She feels outside of herself when she reaches for a vinegar bottle on the floor, breaks it, then grinds it into Marc's face. Liz is horrified at her actions and at the feeling she had of being controlled by someone, or something, else. "She hadn't willed this; she had only watched it, her nervous system dragged along in the wake of decisions made (instantly, enthusiastically) elsewhere." Sixteen-year-old Zac is protective of his mom and his 6-year-old sister, Molly, and is ready to be free of his dad and his volatile temper, and the aftermath of the attack promises that freedom. Soon after, Zac befriends Fran Watts, who was abducted at age 6 and, since her rescue, has suffered hallucinations, particularly one of a protector in the form of an anthropomorphic fox named Jinx, aka Lady Jinx, who carries a magical sword called the Oathkeeper. Determined to get to the bottom of her trauma, she seeks answers from her abductor, Bruno Picota, dubbed the Shadowman, who is incarcerated in a psychiatric institution, and is shocked at what she learns. She's even more shocked when she senses something different about Liz, something disturbingly familiar. Liz, meanwhile, increasingly doubts her sanity, but she's determined to make a fresh start. Unfortunately, the voice inside her head is getting stronger, and she's very, very angry. Carey, whose boundless imagination is in fine form, explores domestic violence, its aftermath, and the transformative power of love and hate with equal aplomb. Refreshingly, Carey resists the urge to instantly transform Liz from meek mom to brave avenger, but when Liz finally finds her footing, watch out, and the savvy but vulnerable Fran is a revelation.
This wonderfully strange and creepy tale is a thrilling, genre-defying treat.
"A first-rate, superbly paced paranormal thriller."New York Times
"Someone Like Me is a taut clever thriller that left me utterly bereft when I'd finished. It's a masterpiece"Louise Jensen, author of The Sister
"This wonderfully strange and creepy tale is a thrilling, genre-defying treat."Kirkus
"Bold and unpredictable.... Just when you think you know what kind of story Carey is telling, he shifts gears and forces you to start your deductions from scratch.... Scary and incredibly tense."SciFiNow
"Carey writes with compassion and fire - strange and surprising and humane."
Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls on The Boy on the Bridge
Liz Kendall is a divorced mom, raising two children. To those who know her, she's gentle and loving. But one night, after she's assaulted by her abusive ex-husband, it's as if another force takes over her body, helping her to escape. Liz then begins to act strangely and wonders if there's something seriously wrong with her. For Fern Watts, hallucinations and a childhood attack means lots of meds, but her imaginary fox friend Jinx is always there and ready to protect her. When Fern encounters Liz in her psychiatrist's office, she believes she's seeing herself and attributes it to being part of her condition—but is it? Creative characters and a twisting plot absorb readers in an intense journey of the mind, begging the question of how far you will go to protect those you love? VERDICT This latest from Carey (The Girl with All the Gifts) offers a dark, supernatural thriller that blurs the edges of the world we know. [See Prepub Alert, 5/23/18.]—Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton