Review: The Look-Alike by Erica Spindler

Title: The Look-Alike by Erica Spindler
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 315 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


From Erica Spindler, the New York Times bestselling author of The Other Girl and Justice for Sara comes The Look-Alike, a thrilling psychological drama about a woman who believes she escaped a brutal murder years ago—but does anyone else believe her?

Sienna Scott grew up in the dark shadow of her mother’s paranoid delusions. Now, she’s returned home to confront her past and the unsolved murder that altered the course of her life.

In her mother’s shuttered house, an old fear that has haunted Sienna for years rears its ugly head—that it was she who had been the killer’s target that night. And now, with it, a new fear—that the killer not only intended to remedy his past mistake—he’s already begun. But are these fears any different from the ones that torment her mother?

As the walls close in, the line between truth and lie, reality and delusion disintegrate. Has Sienna’s worst nightmare come true? Or will she unmask a killer and finally prove she may be her mother’s look-alike, but she’s not her clone?


The Look-Alike by Erica Spindler is an intriguing mystery.

In the aftermath of discovering a young woman who has been murdered, Sienna Scott moved from Tranquility Bluffs, WI to London. Ten years later, twenty-nine year old Sienna has decided to move back home. However, her transition home is anything but smooth. Her mother Viv suffers from a mental illness which causes extremely paranoid delusions and she is clearly not doing well. Sienna is also disconcerted when she learns the police have re-opened the still unsolved murder of Madison Robie.  After a series of unsettling phone calls, Sienna worries about her own mental health when she becomes certain her theory she, not Madison, was the murderer’s intended victim.  Will the police finally put her fears to rest and unmask the killer’s identity?

Sienna is a likable woman but she is a little immature and quick to jump to conclusions. She also continually questions her decisions which makes her come across as a somewhat unreliable narrator. Just as Sienna decides what she wants for her future, a shocking revelation leaves her questioning her relationships with her family.

Sienna is dismayed by her mother’s condition. Her mental state is already precarious and she steadily heads downhill even after Sienna convinces her to take her medication. But Sienna is unprepared for her mother’s psychotic delusions and her attempts to de-escalate the situation take a stunning turn.

Sienna’s older brother Brad has always been a steadying influence in her life.  He is taken aback by her sudden move back home and he is not exactly enthusiastic about her plans. Sienna implicitly trusts Brad but is her faith in him misplaced?

Sienna is immediately charmed by her mother’s mysterious new neighbor Jonathan Hart.  He is very charming, helpful and unflappable.  Their tentative friendship quickly morphs into a passionate affair but the insta-love between them is a little off-putting.  After a disquieting discovery, Sienna begins to wonder if  there is more to Jonathan’s presence in Tranquility Bluffs than he has revealed.

Sienna is curious about why the police re-opened their investigation into Madison’s murder. She feels reassured that university police office Randall Clark is now a detective with Tranquility Bluffs Police Department.  As she unearths troubling information, Sienna is quick to provide him with her findings. But will these newly discovered leads help solve the case?

The Look-Alike is an even-paced mystery that is a little predictable. Sienna is a frustrating character who does not always make the best decisions.  Unable to trust the police will put much effort into their investigation, Sienna and Jonathan take matters into their own hands. Although savvy readers will most likely guess whodunit, Erica Spindler masterfully keeps the motive cleverly under wraps until the novel’s exciting conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Mystery, Rated B, Review, St Martin's Press, Suspense, The Look-Alike

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