by Caitlin Mullen
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In this sophisticated, suspenseful debut reminiscent of Laura Lippman and Chloe Benjamin, two young women become unlikely friends during one fateful summer in Atlantic City as mysterious disappearances hit dangerously close to home.
Summer has come to Atlantic City but the boardwalk is empty of tourists, the casino lights have dimmed, and two Jane Does are laid out in the marshland behind the Sunset Motel, just west of town. Only one person even knows they’re there.
Meanwhile, Clara, a young boardwalk psychic, struggles to attract clients for the tarot readings that pay her rent. When she begins to experience very real and disturbing visions, she suspects they could be related to the recent cases of women gone missing in town. When Clara meets Lily, an ex-Soho art gallery girl who is working at a desolate casino spa and reeling from a personal tragedy, she thinks Lily may be able to help her. But Lily has her own demons to face. If they can put the pieces together in time, they may save another lost girl—so long as their efforts don’t attract perilous attention first. Can they break the ill-fated cycle, or will they join the other victims?
Evocative, eerie, and compelling, Please See Us is a fast-paced psychological thriller that explores the intersection of womanhood, power, and violence.
Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen delivered a suspenseful mystery set in Atlantic City long after the shine has tarnished and most casinos have closed their doors.
The story is told from different points of view; the bulk belongs to Clara, a teenage psychic who lives with her Aunt and reads tarot cards on boards. Thanks to her Aunts habits, she is also good at cons and theft as the landlord always knocking at the door. Clara however longs to find her mother and dreams of saving enough to head to west to find her.
The other main POV is that of Lily Louten. Lily left Jersey behind for the art world and dreamed of holding shows and managing up-and-coming artist until her world crashed. She is home, working at a spa and drinking a little too much.
Other perspectives belong to the killer, his victims and a mute and deaf man who works as a janitor where Lily works. Someone is murdering young women and laying them out in the marsh. Clara is having visions of them, and a chance encounter with Lily soon has the girls chatting, but both of their life styles put them in the killer’s path.
Having grew up in South Jersey I am familiar with the setting, and in fact visited the casinos when they were in their prime. I recently visited, and the author did a fantastic job of capturing the city, the economics and the chronic issues that plague the area.
Realistic, raw, and atmospheric with flawed character trying to eek out a living the tale shines a light on many of the hardships and struggles of economically depressed areas while pulling you into a suspenseful mystery.
The murders, the mystery of them and Clara’s visions combined with the POVs of the victims and their stories pulls you in. This does not lessen the suspensefulness of the tale. In fact, it wasn’t until the last few chapters that I held my breath.
Mullen weaves a solid tapestry. It is only when you close the book and look at the final picture he has created that you fully appreciate the tale.
I suddenly have a renewed interest in mysteries and thrillers so that is what I have been reading this month so I am going to have to look into this one as well. I also always like when two women or characters form an uncanny friendship because of unexpected circumstances.
I have this one on deck since I didn’t get to it before it’s release date. I tried to start it a few weeks ago, but wasn’t feeling it, and then I never picked it up again. Everyone really likes it, so I feel like I should give it another go! I think it was my mood and not a reflection of the book, haha. Glad this one was such a hit for you!
Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? ?
Tyler H. Jolley
Sounds awesome. I love multiple POVs. Thanks for sharing, Kimba!
Jenea’s Book Obsession
This sounds like my kind of mystery!
LOVE that cover and it conveys a sense of mystery. mr wonderful grew up in lawrenceville, i believe it is exit 7?
Wow! This is so ironic. As a teenager and young adult I used to spend quite a bit of time in Atlantic City, and there was a boardwalk psychic who for just $10 told me something that came true about 9 years later. I didn’t believe it then, but it definitely floored when it happened! To see this in a book sounds quite fascinating, and I need to check this one out.
That’s not the kind of visions I’d want to be having. Sounds like a good book.
Debbie S Haupt
It makes a novel so much better when the scenes are genuinely set and no one can do this better than a local and who better than a local to see the significance. This sounds like something I could really enjoy even though I’ve never been to the Jersey Shore I would have loved to seen it in its heyday. Thanks Kim
The mystery sounds solid. I love that you got the villain’s POV as well, that makes things interesting.
I like that the story is told from different point of views, I think it adds even more suspense here. It really sounds like a good mystery to solve and appreciate!