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Lisa Lutz, author of the Spellman Series, has a new novel to be released in spring 2016, a thriller about a woman who goes on the run and makes a habit of changing identities as she goes. As the story opens, right away I learned a bit about the protagonist, Tanya Dubois, that made her intriguing: she finds her husband Frank dead, and ponders calling the police…but “then they’d start looking at me real carefully and I didn’t like people looking at me all that much.”

As things unfold, she goes on the run, and a pattern of changing identities emerges. I loved the way she described the process of moving into a new identity:”…now it felt like every time I wanted to try on an identity coat, it began to unravel the moment I slipped my arm into the sleeve.”

She has an interesting perspective, and while I liked lots about her, some things in her attitude were unsettling: “I would never forget what I had done, the mistakes I had made, the innocent and guilty people I’d left in my wake. But when I weighed my crime against the world, I still believed that I was owed a decent existence.”

Along the way, she meets a woman named Blue, who is pivotal in her life, especially when the two of them swap identities and Tanya goes to Wyoming and becomes a teacher (something in Blue’s past). We learn gradually that when Tanya was a teenager (original name Nora Glass), she was involved in a car crash that left a friend dead, and she was blamed for it, as other people identified her as the driver at fault.

Without giving too much away, Nora returns to confront the demons from her past (in particular the Oliver family) and find resolution to her questions about events (including the car crash) and people (including her mother).

I loved lots of things the characters said. For example, when asked what a dying person was like at the end, one of the main characters responds: “The way most people are at the end. Scared and full of regret. The way you are all the time.”

The author kept the action moving and the mystery unfolding – the book kept my interest and made me want to read more of her work. I have just downloaded her 2015 book, How to Start a Fire, and see it includes UC Santa Cruz in the storyline, which is one of the schools Lutz attended, and which is where I live.

I appreciate the opportunity to read an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Four stars (if possible, would give four and a half!)

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