Title: One Step Behind by Lauren North
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 363 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
A woman pushed to the breaking point by a stalker develops an obsession of her own in this shocking new novel of psychological suspense from the acclaimed author of The Perfect Son.
Jenna is a wife, a mother, a doctor. She’s also the victim of a stalker. Frightening “gifts” are left on her doorstep, her home is broken in to, and when she leaves her house to take her children to school, he’s waiting. She feels powerless, and the police are unable to help.
Then her stalker is brought into the emergency room after a terrible accident, and Jenna has to treat the man who’s been tormenting her for months. With her stalker in a coma, Jenna is desperate to understand the life of this seemingly normal man. When she finds startling images on his phone, she is consumed by her need for answers–and her own obsession leads her down a twisting path of destruction.
Just how far is Jenna willing to go to take back control of her life?
One Step Behind by Lauren North is a compelling, suspense-laden mystery.
Jenna Lawson is doctor who spends long hours away from home. Her husband Stuart picks up a lot of the duties at home including caring for their two children, nine year Beth and 6 year old Archie. All of them are affected by the stalker who has been terrorizing her for the past year. Although Jenna is doing everything the police tell her to do, she is frustrated by their inability to identify him. She has spotted him on more than one occasion so when he is brought to the Accident and Emergency department where she works, she recognizes him. With her stalker seriously injured, Jenna should be relieved he can no longer torment her. But now she wants answers and since he is not in a position to tell her what she wants to know, Jenna recklessly starts peering into his life. Will Jenna uncover the reason he is stalking her?
Jenna is extremely dedicated to her job and her family is often disappointed when she misses important events. But she refuses to put her husband and kids first and this decision is a source of friction. Once Jenna realizes she is being stalked, she and Stuart put aside their differences to ensure everyone’s safety. The stress from the danger she feels is beginning to take a toll. Jenna is not sleeping and she is hyper vigilant. After her stalker is hospitalized, Jenna knows what she is doing wrong, but she is determined to understand his motive for targeting her.
Sophie is a personal trainer who lives and works with her boyfriend, Nick. She is beginning to feel smothered by Nick who wants to know her every move. The tighter he holds onto her, the more Sophie wants to run away. Will Sophie escape her possessive boyfriend? And what, if any, is the connection between her and Jenna?
Alternating between Sophie and Jenna’s points of view, One Step Behind is a fast-paced and intriguing mystery. Jenna is a bit self-absorbed but it is easy to feel empathy for the fear she feels every day. Stuart is laidback, easygoing, and optimistic. Archie is a typical little boy but Beth is beginning to resent her mother. Sophie’s part of the storyline is interesting and she is a sympathetic young woman. The tension ratchets up with each chapter and Lauren North brings this suspenseful mystery to an edge of the seat, twist-filled conclusion. An absolutely mesmerizing mystery that I absolutely loved and highly recommend.