Review: Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

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Genre: Thriller

Rating: 3.5/5.0 stars

Main Takeaway: An unsurprising, yet still entertaining thriller about empowering female friendships.


One night, six neighbors, happy to be free of motherly duties for a couple hours, gossip and drink around a bonfire. However, on Monday one of those women, Kristin, has gone missing, along with her two children, and her neighbors – who unfortunately have too fuzzy memories to recall the details of the night – are the last ones to have seen her before the disappearance. Clara, Kristin’s best friend, and Izzy, the newest addition to this group of neighbors, are drawn into the depths of the police’s investigation, with Kristin’s soon-to-be ex-husband Paul at the very center. The women discover there was much they did not know about Kristin, and begin to question who they can really trust.

I saw the ending of this novel coming from almost the very start. There were no surprises, no plot twists, no red herrings. The novel essentially was a build up to the ending you kept trying to convince yourself not to believe would happen because it just seemed too obvious. But overall, Not That I Could Tell was entertaining. I enjoyed getting into the relationship dynamics of these women, and I feasted on the more gossipy aspects of this novel because, come on, who doesn’t look a good secret? This novel is more of a slow-burn thriller, focused more on the gossip and the relationships between the women than building suspense. But, this novel is about domestic abuse, so the lack of suspense really added to the idea that you never really know who a person is until they show you. It was really a smart structure.

I found this novel not to be very thrilling or mysterious or edge-of-your-seat exciting. Not That I Could Tell is less mysterious, more female empowering. What this novel does well is discuss the value and strength of female friendships and the trust we place in one another. Not That I Could Tell shows us the importance of having healthy friendships and people to look after.




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