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Half Moon Bay

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A smart, haunting tale of psychological suspense from the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of Turn of Mind. Jane loses everything when her teenage daughter is killed in a senseless accident. Jane is devastated, but sometime later, she makes one tiny stab at a new life: she moves from San Francisco to the tiny seaside town of Half Moon Bay. She is inconsolable A smart, haunting tale of psychological suspense from the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of Turn of Mind. Jane loses everything when her teenage daughter is killed in a senseless accident. Jane is devastated, but sometime later, she makes one tiny stab at a new life: she moves from San Francisco to the tiny seaside town of Half Moon Bay. She is inconsolable, and yet, as the months go by, she is able to cobble together some version of a job, of friends, of the possibility of peace. And then, children begin to disappear. And soon, Jane sees her own pain reflected in all the parents in the town. She wonders if she will be able to live through the aching loss, the fear all around her. But as the disappearances continue, she begins to see that what her neighbors are wondering is if it is Jane herself who has unleashed the horror of loss. Half Moon Bay is a chilling story about a mother haunted by her past. As Stewart O’Nan said about Turn of Mind—this novel “blindfolds the reader and spins her around.”


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A smart, haunting tale of psychological suspense from the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of Turn of Mind. Jane loses everything when her teenage daughter is killed in a senseless accident. Jane is devastated, but sometime later, she makes one tiny stab at a new life: she moves from San Francisco to the tiny seaside town of Half Moon Bay. She is inconsolable A smart, haunting tale of psychological suspense from the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of Turn of Mind. Jane loses everything when her teenage daughter is killed in a senseless accident. Jane is devastated, but sometime later, she makes one tiny stab at a new life: she moves from San Francisco to the tiny seaside town of Half Moon Bay. She is inconsolable, and yet, as the months go by, she is able to cobble together some version of a job, of friends, of the possibility of peace. And then, children begin to disappear. And soon, Jane sees her own pain reflected in all the parents in the town. She wonders if she will be able to live through the aching loss, the fear all around her. But as the disappearances continue, she begins to see that what her neighbors are wondering is if it is Jane herself who has unleashed the horror of loss. Half Moon Bay is a chilling story about a mother haunted by her past. As Stewart O’Nan said about Turn of Mind—this novel “blindfolds the reader and spins her around.”

30 review for Half Moon Bay

  1. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    The book starts off so convoluted I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. Just nonsensical. Jane is enveloped in grief from the loss of her teenage daughter. And that grief has obviously affected her mind and we are the unwilling witnesses. Unfortunately, this style of writing grates. I needed something more concrete. LaPlante has us wandering in the fog, in more ways than one. Unreliable narrators are all the rage these days. And sometimes it works well. Just not here. Or at least for me. And Alm The book starts off so convoluted I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. Just nonsensical. Jane is enveloped in grief from the loss of her teenage daughter. And that grief has obviously affected her mind and we are the unwilling witnesses. Unfortunately, this style of writing grates. I needed something more concrete. LaPlante has us wandering in the fog, in more ways than one. Unreliable narrators are all the rage these days. And sometimes it works well. Just not here. Or at least for me. And Alma and Edward are so strange. I struggled to see the attraction Jane felt for them and why she continued to interact with them. And what to make of Adam? There is a weird creepiness factor to this book. I finished it, despite my severe reservations just to see how the ending would play out. And the ending was just as I expected it, which was a serious letdown. So, long story short. Just not my kind of book. I liked Turn of Mind, so I won’t hesitate to try another book by LaPlante. But I can’t recommend this one. My thanks to netgalley and Scribner for an advance copy of this book.

  2. 3 out of 5

    Kendall

    Wow... so I'm not going to sugar coat anything in this review. This was just awful. I don't like giving negative reviews but this was not a well written novel AT ALL. The only thing I liked about this book was the cover. It's gorgeous! Unfortunately, I just could not get into Half Moon Bay by Alice LaPlante. The two main issues I had with this book was the writing style and the main character Jane. I felt for Jane... how awful to lose your child. BUT, I didn't like her character at all. The autho Wow... so I'm not going to sugar coat anything in this review. This was just awful. I don't like giving negative reviews but this was not a well written novel AT ALL. The only thing I liked about this book was the cover. It's gorgeous! Unfortunately, I just could not get into Half Moon Bay by Alice LaPlante. The two main issues I had with this book was the writing style and the main character Jane. I felt for Jane... how awful to lose your child. BUT, I didn't like her character at all. The author wrote based on Jane's consciousness or in and out... I think? This was very confusing for me and I felt it was all over the place. I should have put this in the DNF pile... but I wanted to see if the ending had the bang for the buck. WELL.. that will teach me.... ugh :(. The ending came out of nowhere and it didn't even make sense to the story? 1 star. Thank you very much to Netgalley and Scribner for the arc. Publication date: 7/10/18 Published to GR: 4/22/18

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chris Mara

    Two stars overall. The first half of the book has main character, Jane, now a loner, having moved to the small town of Half Moon Bay after the deaths of her mother, her father, and worst, the devastating auto accident of her teen aged daughter. She’s also lost her husband to infidelity. She is trying to cope with her grief and loneliness by being quiet and not openly socializing with other people in her new town. She is flying under the radar. Her story is told from her POV from growing up in a Two stars overall. The first half of the book has main character, Jane, now a loner, having moved to the small town of Half Moon Bay after the deaths of her mother, her father, and worst, the devastating auto accident of her teen aged daughter. She’s also lost her husband to infidelity. She is trying to cope with her grief and loneliness by being quiet and not openly socializing with other people in her new town. She is flying under the radar. Her story is told from her POV from growing up in a large family and being made fun of by family, and a harsh father who called his family “a litter,” and was prone to using his hands/fists to get a point across. Her story is then told from when she started dating, how she met her husband and got married, and in time, the thrill was starting go away; probably for the both of them. Jane gets pregnant and a daughter, Angela, is delivered. We hear of how this child takes so much more from Jane and the marriage than she gives. How it is exhausting raising her and keeping up with her. She is the managing parent and she is the protector/over protector. Yet there is love and there are beautiful moments and memories. That is, until she becomes a hormonally induced teenager and here we go. She is overly promiscuous at the age of 14. She doesn’t abide by the house rules. She talks back. She does what she wants, when it suits her, much to her mothers angst. What is ironic for me is that I had just read a book about an overprotective, overcontrolling Mom and her sullen, rude, snappy, flippant teenaged daughter. And how is it that this next one I pick up has a distant, sullen, crude, snotty teenaged daughter. It is interesting how these young adult females have this “friction” with their mothers. I think the fathers step away because they don’t know or want to handle their teenaged daughters. They don’t dare sass back to the father. But to the mother? Push as many manipulative buttons on dear old Mom as you can. So this added pressure on the marital relationship makes it crack even further. What throws it all to hell is a horrid auto accident involving Andrea and immediately thereafter, Jane’s husbands’ admission of an affair (probably an ongoing one) and his hasty move out. Jane is left alone with her loss, grief, loneliness, anger, sadness. Her shattered family life. Jane has never been very good in dealing with her emotions. We know this from her thoughts and actions all through life. We know this from her shrink’s appointments. We know this from her trying to hide from her former life and pretend that it all never happened by moving away to Half Moon Bay for the privacy and secrecy, but that is not for long. One young girl goes missing. And then another and then another... Jane stupidly walks the beach at 3 am. because she’s also an insomniac. Her former life invades her sleep. She does things and says things that begin to make her a suspect. The police think she has something to do with the killing of these girls to make up for her daughter being taken from her. I swear, every time she opened her mouth, she just dug herself into a deeper and deeper hole. There were some people in town who genuinely cared for her and tried to help her, but she could not, would not open herself up to that. She just withdrew into herself more and more. She would miss work or go in late to work; she would forget tracts of time...no good comes of this kind of behavior. One day, a new man and woman come to this small, rather run down town and open a business. This is highly unusual for this somewhat derelict, small town where businesses that open are usually defunct within a short time. There are visitors/tourists, but the attraction of the ocean and shore are sadly realized when the fog comes in and stays and the ocean is freezing cold and the air is chilly. They are beautiful people, this Edward and Alma; they befriend Jane immediately and she gets sucked into their relationship, which is a strange one indeed. She becomes part of a three-way relationship. I’m reading this saying No, No, No Jane! But she is sucked in with an intimacy and emotion that these two afford her that she hasn’t had for a long time. Did I mention she is unstable and makes bad decisions? It’s around this point that I started losing my interest very badly and quickly. There’s a lot of Jane talking to herself thru the book; recapping prior life experiences, describing the people in town that are slyly looking at her, or avoiding her now, her relationship with Edward and Alma, her job at the plant nursery, etc. so we are “in her head.” Again, it’s evident once more (!) that she is not thinking rationally or making good, sound decisions and I think I just got to the point that I was really getting sick of her as a weak, floundering character! A decent beginning but a steady fall flat mid to end. The ending was a slow fizzle instead of a bang. I guess I should have anticipated that.

  4. 4 out of 5

    The Pfaeffle Journal (Diane)

    A haunting tale of a woman driven a little crazy by the loss of her teenage daughter in a senseless accident. Jane O'Malley has lost her daughter and husband, in an attempt to restart her life she moves from Berkeley to Half Moon Bay and takes a job at a local nursery that specializes in native plants. When not working she walks the desolate beaches and rides her motorcycle into the city. Jane keeps herself at arm's length from the local inhabitants, that is until Edward, an environmental activi A haunting tale of a woman driven a little crazy by the loss of her teenage daughter in a senseless accident. Jane O'Malley has lost her daughter and husband, in an attempt to restart her life she moves from Berkeley to Half Moon Bay and takes a job at a local nursery that specializes in native plants. When not working she walks the desolate beaches and rides her motorcycle into the city. Jane keeps herself at arm's length from the local inhabitants, that is until Edward, an environmental activist, and Alma, an adjunct physics professor, arrive in town. Before Edward and Alma's arrival, a little girl is abducted and murdered. Jane because of her past is considered a suspect. Tensions around town mount, as other young girls are abducted and killed Jane is drawn in by first Edward then Alma, she becomes enthralled with the couple. Edward and Alma are not all that they seem, and Jane will discover that too late. The book is not a psychological thriller instead it is a study of how people can misuse another. This review was originally posted on The Pfaeffle Journal

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stacey Camp

    **1 Goodreads Stars** I really hate giving bad book reviews. I know how much they hurt as someone who also writes (but for an academic audience) for a living. Unfortunately, I just could not get into Alice LaPlante's  Half Moon Bay. I finished it because I wanted to know the book's ending, but I am not sure if the book was worth persevering.  The book takes place in the foggy, touristy seaside town of Half Moon Bay (in California), which is lusciously depicted on the stunning cover of Half Moon B **1 Goodreads Stars** I really hate giving bad book reviews. I know how much they hurt as someone who also writes (but for an academic audience) for a living. Unfortunately, I just could not get into Alice LaPlante's  Half Moon Bay. I finished it because I wanted to know the book's ending, but I am not sure if the book was worth persevering.  The book takes place in the foggy, touristy seaside town of Half Moon Bay (in California), which is lusciously depicted on the stunning cover of Half Moon Bay. The book is told from the perspective of Jane, a middle age woman whose teenage daughter was hit and killed by a car. In the aftermath, Jane's husband leaves her, and Jane is left to find some way of finding meaning in a life that seems full of infinite meaningless without her daughter. Jane moves to Half Moon Bay after an incident involving her and the woman who hit her daughter (which was ruled an accident) in Berkeley. She seeks refuge there, free of the baggage she was carrying with her in Berkeley. But the past always has a way of catching up with people. As soon as Jane arrives, little girls are kidnapped, and all eyes turn on her. Even Jane wonders if she's capable of the crime. She often floats in and out of the world by drinking and roaming the beach at night, utterly lost and destitute without her daughter and husband. A new couple comes to Half Moon Bay in the midst of the kidnappings, who charm Jane. Jane finds herself entangled in a nuanced and somewhat confounding relationship with the couple, one that is the only thing that makes sense to Jane in a nonsensical world. Who is this couple, and why have they decided to bring Jane into their fold? Do they have ulterior motives? The book is very, very sad, dark, moody, and atmospheric. Parts of it read like the author's (or lead character's) stream of consciousness. The narrative isn't necessarily linear, reflecting the interior status of Jane's mind and feelings. She is lost, forever unmoored after losing her daughter. The book meandered and went in so many directions that, at times, I felt as lost as Jane. I was hoping for a bit more suspense and tension, but in the end this book just left me sad and wanting. Maybe that's what the author was aiming for, but it didn't sit well with me. The ending also came out of nowhere, and did not seem true to the book. Thank you to the author, Alice LaPlante, the publisher, Simon & Schuster, and Edelweiss+ for an advanced reader copy of  Half Moon Bay. For more of my book reviews visit me here: Book Review Blog | Twitter | Instagram

  6. 3 out of 5

    Linda Strong

    When Jane's teenage daughter is killed, she is shattered. A year later she makes a move to put some kind of like together. She's done some things in the throes of her grief that she really doesn't want anyone to know, so this is a clean slate for her. She finds a job in a nursery growing exotic plants. She gets along well with her boss and then there's Adam, a man who would like to get closer to Jane. She also meets a couple, Alma and Edward, who become her close, close friends. But then a little When Jane's teenage daughter is killed, she is shattered. A year later she makes a move to put some kind of like together. She's done some things in the throes of her grief that she really doesn't want anyone to know, so this is a clean slate for her. She finds a job in a nursery growing exotic plants. She gets along well with her boss and then there's Adam, a man who would like to get closer to Jane. She also meets a couple, Alma and Edward, who become her close, close friends. But then a little girl goes missing, not found until days later.. wrapped in a blanket, clean, hair combed and with a bit of makeup. It about tears Jane apart, bringing back memories of her own daughter. And then a second girl disappears ... and yet a third. The community is turning into itself with fear and pain and Jane herself becomes a suspect. Is Jane taking these girls and killing them? She's the first to admit that she's haunted by her past ... but could she possibly be a monster and not know it? Highly suspenseful, well written, it kept me riveted to each and every page. It seemed as though everyone was a suspect at one point or another... no motive, no clues, no DNA for the girls' deaths. Jane's character bothered me. She was such a pushover and did things she was told/asked to do without thinking about the consequences. She comes across as grieving, but weak, as well. Alma and Edward are just strange. About the only normal one is Adam ... and I still had a question about him ... he kept popping up in places where Jane was. All in all, it was a good read. Many thanks to the author / Scribner Books / Edelweiss for the advanced copy of this psychological thriller. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Susan Johnson

    Like many of the reviewers, I hate to write a bad review but even more, I hate reading a bad book and this is a bad book. If you are thinking of reading this, run. Don't waste your time. How this even got published is beyond me. What's so bad about it? The plot, the writing, the characters, shall I go on? Jane is recovering from the death of her teen-age daughter in an auto accident a year ago and the subsequent divorce from a husband. She wanders in a fog and avoids human interaction as much a Like many of the reviewers, I hate to write a bad review but even more, I hate reading a bad book and this is a bad book. If you are thinking of reading this, run. Don't waste your time. How this even got published is beyond me. What's so bad about it? The plot, the writing, the characters, shall I go on? Jane is recovering from the death of her teen-age daughter in an auto accident a year ago and the subsequent divorce from a husband. She wanders in a fog and avoids human interaction as much as possible. This is supposed to be because of the recent events but stories from her childhood reveal she was always strange. One bizarre incident occurred when she was babysitting a child and bathed herself instead of her charge who sat on the toilet watching her. The parents were rightly horrified when they walked in. Jane relocates to Half Moon Bay (sort of forced out of her job) to start a new life. There she meets newcomers, Edward and Alma. She immediately falls under their thrall and becomes their puppet. Why she suddenly drops her guard and begins an affair with Edward with Alma's blessing is never satisfactorily explained. But why bother? Nothing else makes sense. There are some child abductions and murders. The murderer is no surprise at all but the reason is weird, weird, weird but then so is everything else in this book. This is such a disappointment and mess. DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME. Read some amazing book but this is not one of them. Thanks to Net Galley for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review. Trust me, this was a fair review.

  8. 3 out of 5

    CD {Boulder Blvd}

    After numerous attempts I just couldn't get into the writing style of this book. Maybe the story/plot is good, but it's not worth the hurdle of reading it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    I may try again later but I just could not get interested in this story. The story is a jagged and the characters are not engaging. Shelving as DNF for now... Thanks to Netgalley for an advanced reader's copy in exchange for my honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Half Moon Bay was a twisty psychological novel of suspense. Jane lost everything when her daughter was killed in an accident. She's been unraveling since and is attempting to regain some semblance of peace in her life. Eventually children start disappearing in her town and Jane quickly becomes a suspect, thanks to the knowledge of her breakdowns after the death of her daughter. This was a chilling, twisty story. I was not a fan of the writing, it was very random and all over the place. The premi Half Moon Bay was a twisty psychological novel of suspense. Jane lost everything when her daughter was killed in an accident. She's been unraveling since and is attempting to regain some semblance of peace in her life. Eventually children start disappearing in her town and Jane quickly becomes a suspect, thanks to the knowledge of her breakdowns after the death of her daughter. This was a chilling, twisty story. I was not a fan of the writing, it was very random and all over the place. The premise was good and kept me reading, but I can't get over how badly it's written. I could not connect with any of the characters and overall, just found this to be a strange mix. However, it did keep me reading and I did finish it to find out the outcome. For me, Half Moon Bay was ⭐️⭐️/5 stars. Thank you @scribnerbooks for this advance reader in exchange for my honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kaycee Bowick (Off_The_Press)

    Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with a advanced DRC of this title in exchange for an honest review! Off The Press Reads: Blog ♦ Instagram ♦ Bloglovin'

  12. 5 out of 5

    Annette Geiss

    I finished this book in two days. I couldn’t wait for it to end. The main character, Jane, was so flawed that I found her unbelievable. I think the author was trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to paint her as a damaged, ravaged and heart broken woman. A soul to be pitied and looked upon with emphathy. She was so easily manipulated, shaken enough to be malleable. I was bereft of any compassion for her. I think we were to believe that Jane’s incredible loss led her to make so many poor choices. I did I finished this book in two days. I couldn’t wait for it to end. The main character, Jane, was so flawed that I found her unbelievable. I think the author was trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to paint her as a damaged, ravaged and heart broken woman. A soul to be pitied and looked upon with emphathy. She was so easily manipulated, shaken enough to be malleable. I was bereft of any compassion for her. I think we were to believe that Jane’s incredible loss led her to make so many poor choices. I didn’t buy it. I didn’t like Jane, nor her pathetic self deprecating self. The ending was utterly and disappointingly unceremonious. Thank you to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for this ARC in return for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cassie-Traveling Sister-

    First I want to thank netgalley and the author for an advanced kindle version of this book. I was greatly disappointed. I felt like this book was just all over the place and hard for me to keep straight. This book starts with he main character Jane who is dealing with the death of her daughter a year ago. She moves to a new town called half moon bay. Shortly after she arrives young girls start to go missing and are found dead. The town start to think it’s her. She meets a couple who are named Al First I want to thank netgalley and the author for an advanced kindle version of this book. I was greatly disappointed. I felt like this book was just all over the place and hard for me to keep straight. This book starts with he main character Jane who is dealing with the death of her daughter a year ago. She moves to a new town called half moon bay. Shortly after she arrives young girls start to go missing and are found dead. The town start to think it’s her. She meets a couple who are named Alma and Edward who become her friends and help her to deal with he death of her daughter. I didn’t like the ending or the beginning or middle. The book was difficult to finish. Plus Jane was a difficult character to relate with.

  14. 3 out of 5

    Holly Brown

    "Turn of Mind" is one of my favorite psychological thrillers, so I was excited to get my hands on an early copy of this one. It didn't disappoint. Alice LaPlante is a great writer, and the protagonist Jane felt believable to me in her grief that becomes a form of madness. That said, this is not a page turner; rather, you're drawn in and pulled under, like Jane herself is. It's a masterful, methodical submersion, and, at times, the book is truly uncomfortable. Endings are a tricky, subjective bus "Turn of Mind" is one of my favorite psychological thrillers, so I was excited to get my hands on an early copy of this one. It didn't disappoint. Alice LaPlante is a great writer, and the protagonist Jane felt believable to me in her grief that becomes a form of madness. That said, this is not a page turner; rather, you're drawn in and pulled under, like Jane herself is. It's a masterful, methodical submersion, and, at times, the book is truly uncomfortable. Endings are a tricky, subjective business, and this one didn't connect for me, but it will connect for others, and overall, this is a first rate literary thriller.

  15. 4 out of 5

    CalifCat

    Gosh, I frankly am very puzzled by the bad reviews for this book. To each their own of course, I have certainly felt the same about popular books that have received 5 stars and felt they only deserved 1 star. SO moving on from that. To me, this novel was riveting and intense. Was it a bit of a slow building story, yes, but for me, that was the character building part, to be able to understand the whys and the motives as to what would come later. I enjoyed everything about this book, the scenery, t Gosh, I frankly am very puzzled by the bad reviews for this book. To each their own of course, I have certainly felt the same about popular books that have received 5 stars and felt they only deserved 1 star. SO moving on from that. To me, this novel was riveting and intense. Was it a bit of a slow building story, yes, but for me, that was the character building part, to be able to understand the whys and the motives as to what would come later. I enjoyed everything about this book, the scenery, the very descriptive atmosphere of Half Moon Bay was spot on. The garden shop, where our main character worked, and the author taking the time to give the Latin names of the plants. Yes, this book was VERY detailed, maybe giving too much detail for some readers, but for me, it all made a delicious soup. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, beginning to end, this was a tension-filled unique story. I also want to say, there are so many books in this genre , they all run together at some point, just change out some names and you get the same story, that did not happen in this book. This book was fresh, mysterious and held me captive with excitement. Highly Recommend!! 4.5 Stars.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

    A woman’s only child is accidentally killed and shortly thereafter her husband leaves her. She falls apart and, in an effort to become anonymous she leaves home and moves to Half Moon Bay to reinvent herself. Shortly after she arrives there little girls start to disappear and their remains are found days later. She, because she is new and because she is strange, is suspected of these murders and is befriended by a couple whom she describes as beautiful. This leads to more complications and her l A woman’s only child is accidentally killed and shortly thereafter her husband leaves her. She falls apart and, in an effort to become anonymous she leaves home and moves to Half Moon Bay to reinvent herself. Shortly after she arrives there little girls start to disappear and their remains are found days later. She, because she is new and because she is strange, is suspected of these murders and is befriended by a couple whom she describes as beautiful. This leads to more complications and her life becomes untenable. I will not go further into the plot because of spoilers but considered it to be well done. I did, however, have difficulty dealing with the fact that the entire novel was written in third person which I thought put a distance between the reader and the protagonists. Thanks to Net Galley and Simon and Schuster for an ARC for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    I'm afraid I just couldn't get into this book. While the main plot of missing girls was good, the writing seemed stilted. Jane, the main character was not very likeable. The town of Half Moon Bay was excellently described. Thats about the only good thing I could say about this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    great book! kept me on edge the whole book. would recommend it to anyone who likes a good suspense book

  19. 3 out of 5

    Valerie

    This is the first book I have read by this author, and I picked it up because living in northern California, I thought the setting would be great for a psychological suspense story. The book exceeded my expectations and I was totally shocked at parts of the story. It involves Jane, who once lived in Berkeley, but after losing her teenage daughter and only child in a senseless and tragic car accident, she and her husband go their separate ways. Jane wants to start a new life, hoping that the cons This is the first book I have read by this author, and I picked it up because living in northern California, I thought the setting would be great for a psychological suspense story. The book exceeded my expectations and I was totally shocked at parts of the story. It involves Jane, who once lived in Berkeley, but after losing her teenage daughter and only child in a senseless and tragic car accident, she and her husband go their separate ways. Jane wants to start a new life, hoping that the constant pain of her loss will subside somewhat over time. In Half Moon Bay, a relatively small coastal town in San Mateo County, she finds work at a nursery, working with native plants which she enjoys. She also makes friends in the town. She finds her life turned upside down once again when she meets Alma and Edward, a couple who are together, although they are still married to other people. Alma tells Jane that her two children are dead; Jane takes this metaphorically, and is completely shocked when she later finds out that this professor of particle physics at Stanford University, meant that her two girls are literally deceased. They apparently died in a car involving carbon monoxide poisoning. She and her husband did not have a very good relationship, and Alma tells Jane at one point that Louisiana is a state that favors male parental custody. The reader at this point may draw their own conclusions. Edward and Jane become lovers and the odd thing is that Alma knows about the affair and even encourages it. Edward works for a non-profit that tries to stop large companies from taking over acres of ocean property so that they may build luxury hotels, casinos, etc. on the land, thereby making the land unavailable to the general public. He works very hard for this cause he believes in, and he does not always do things the legal way, to put it mildly. It is obvious that Alma and Edward are trying to draw Jane into their lifestyle and involve her with some terrible things. When Jane moved to Half Moon Bay, the first of five small girls went missing after she had been there for two months. The bodies, except for the last one, were all discovered in various places. Jane is completely dumbfounded when she finds out that law enforcement suspect her as being the possible murderer. The situation gets so bad that the entire town basically shuns her. Along come Edward and Alma to the 'rescue'. But Jane finds out that there is a terrible price to pay for her 'loving' relationship with these two people. I found the book a good character study of how people handle, or do not handle, extreme grief; and the extent to which they will go to try and deal with a huge loss of someone they love.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Sadly I couldn't get on with this one. It was just a little too strange for me and rather than feel sorry for the main protagonist who had lost her child I just wanted her to ssh. There's a weird relationship that she starts with a couple who, frankly, are a little caricature and the resolution is predictable in it's "who " but with an out of left field "why" At which point I was past caring anyway. BUT.. My honest opinion is that Half Moon Bay would have worked much better as a snapshot of grief Sadly I couldn't get on with this one. It was just a little too strange for me and rather than feel sorry for the main protagonist who had lost her child I just wanted her to ssh. There's a weird relationship that she starts with a couple who, frankly, are a little caricature and the resolution is predictable in it's "who " but with an out of left field "why" At which point I was past caring anyway. BUT.. My honest opinion is that Half Moon Bay would have worked much better as a snapshot of grief. Both of my 2* here are for those in between moments when Jane is struggling with her inner turmoil, when she doesn't know quite how to go on. Her actions towards the person who killed her daughter (in an accident) are totally believable. When she's on a literal cliff where one step would end her suffering, that tension is palpable. The back story of her escape to a small community to find a new life, a way to move on, all of that worked. This could have been that story, not a crime book but a character driven drama. The missing children, the weird couple,, Jane's tendency to bang on in an almost stream of conciousness narrative that oftentimes was nonsensical due, I feel, to the need to wrap it up in a mystery, all served to make this too much of a mish mash. For this reader it just didn't work at all. Which I'm genuinely sorry about because this author's last book was great. Hopefully her next will be too.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Luanne Ollivier

    2.5 I've really enjoyed Alice LaPlante's previous two books and was eager to read her latest - Half Moon Bay. Jane is very emotionally wounded. She has moved to the small town of Half Moon Bay from San Francisco. She has found work at a nursery, but avoids people as much as possible. When young children start to go missing in Half Moon Bay, she becomes a suspect. You see, her own daughter died in San Francisco. I chose to listen to Half Moon Bay. The reader was Gabra Zackman. She did an excellent 2.5 I've really enjoyed Alice LaPlante's previous two books and was eager to read her latest - Half Moon Bay. Jane is very emotionally wounded. She has moved to the small town of Half Moon Bay from San Francisco. She has found work at a nursery, but avoids people as much as possible. When young children start to go missing in Half Moon Bay, she becomes a suspect. You see, her own daughter died in San Francisco. I chose to listen to Half Moon Bay. The reader was Gabra Zackman. She did an excellent job capturing Jane's confusion, fogginess and grief with her interpretation of LaPlante's character. Her voice is measured, easy to understand and well modulated. Zackman has a nice gravelly tone to her voice that makes it quite pleasant to listen to. Listen to an excerpt of Half Moon Bay. So great narrator, but for me the book was a miss. A wounded, unreliable lead is a great addition to a mystery. But Jane's inner monologues go 'round and 'round to the point where I got quite bored of her angst. This rambling discourse had me tuning out. Jane's 'oddness' is reiterated over and over again, punctuated by two other workers at the nursery. Adam is just as odd, so of course the listener suspects him as well. Honestly, I could not buy Adam's attraction to Jane at all. And Jane's attraction and relationship with also newly transplanted to Half Moon Bay couple Edward and Alma. Sorry, big what the heck, ugh and really? The final ending and 'whodunit'? Telegraphed well in advance. And the reason? Sorry, can't buy that either. The cover is great and the descriptions of Jane's plants and the physical settings were well done. But overall? Sorry, I can't recommend this one at all.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    I tried, I really did. I was so excited to have won a kindle copy of this book from the Goodreads giveaways. The story sounds right up my alley with missing girls and a frazzled mother. And look at that cover, love it! Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get into this book. I knew from the first page that it was going to be a tough go. The writing is all over the place. Ramblings and choppy sentences that made no sense. The author also doesn’t use quotations, which I’m sure is fine for others, but it I tried, I really did. I was so excited to have won a kindle copy of this book from the Goodreads giveaways. The story sounds right up my alley with missing girls and a frazzled mother. And look at that cover, love it! Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get into this book. I knew from the first page that it was going to be a tough go. The writing is all over the place. Ramblings and choppy sentences that made no sense. The author also doesn’t use quotations, which I’m sure is fine for others, but it drives me insane. I’m embarrassed to admit what page I stopped reading. I tried several times to get back into it but just couldn’t. Maybe I’ll try again eventually, but it’s doubtful. I’m bummed that I couldn’t finish, the plot sounded great but the writing just doesn’t work.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Irene Adam

    I received a free advance e-copy of this book from the author and have chosen to write an honest and unbiased review. I have no personal affiliation with the author. This book is poorly written. Couldn’t make heads or tails of most of it. I don’t recommend this book.

  24. 3 out of 5

    2shay

    If you enjoy beautifully written descriptions of native California flora, or beautifully written descriptions of the California coast, you might enjoy this book. If you expect a likeable heroine who captures your heart? You will be disappointed. I wanted to like Jane. She’s lived through the worst nightmare a human can endure, the lose of a child and the subsequent disintegration of her marriage. Her childhood pretty much sucked, too. She’s depressed and adrift when she moves to a town near Half If you enjoy beautifully written descriptions of native California flora, or beautifully written descriptions of the California coast, you might enjoy this book. If you expect a likeable heroine who captures your heart? You will be disappointed. I wanted to like Jane. She’s lived through the worst nightmare a human can endure, the lose of a child and the subsequent disintegration of her marriage. Her childhood pretty much sucked, too. She’s depressed and adrift when she moves to a town near Half Moon Bay and takes a job at the local nursery. Her sleepless nights have her walking the nearby beaches late at night, and when local girls disappear and turn up dead, she comes under suspicion. She makes many bad decisions and can’t seem to see the clues starring Her in the face. The author writes beautifully. Her descriptions of locations and topography are lyrical. I thought the plot was a little thin, with too many twists to retain a modicum of believability. Even grief-stricken, lonely and depressed, I just never felt any sympathy for Jane. At the end, I felt that the author had gotten fed up with Jane, as had I. It was abrupt. While I would love to read more from this author, this book didn’t work for me. 2shay Arc graciously provided by the publisher and NetGalley for an honest and voluntary review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Vishaka Rajan

    There were two issues for me with this book: 1) Jane's character; and 2) the writing style.  Jane is a mother who is shrouded in grief, for obvious reasons. While I could empathize with Jane, I wasn't able to connect with her or like her. I think this may have been because of the other personality traits the author tried to attribute to her, namely her ability to be easily manipulated. Personally, I prefer characters who have a bit more of a backbone to them, and the fact that Jane's malleable ch There were two issues for me with this book: 1) Jane's character; and 2) the writing style.  Jane is a mother who is shrouded in grief, for obvious reasons. While I could empathize with Jane, I wasn't able to connect with her or like her. I think this may have been because of the other personality traits the author tried to attribute to her, namely her ability to be easily manipulated. Personally, I prefer characters who have a bit more of a backbone to them, and the fact that Jane's malleable character leads to so many future problems for her just annoyed me. This may not seem like a huge problem for a lot of readers, but it was a big reason why I couldn't enjoy this book. I also didn't like the writing style. It just felt like I was in Jane's head the entire time, following her stream of consciousness. And I didn't really like it, especially since Jane has a very ... foggy mind. I felt disoriented and since her thoughts constantly strayed to various different areas, it was hard for me to stay focused and keep up with the actual story line. This definitely hampered my reading experience and made this less enjoyable. I think that the story here was interesting. However, I didn't like the main character and I didn't like the writing style, which meant that I couldn't enjoy the book. It almost made the DNF pile - except I've been trying really hard to not DNF any books this year. For those reasons, I'm giving it a 1/5 stars. Thank you to Edelweiss and the publishers for an eARC in exchange for my honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Debi Samuels

    Awful. I'm not a fan of first person, but the writing is so stilted it's almost like reading William Shatner speak. Every. Single. Sentence. I couldn't finish it, and there's rarely a book I do that to. I couldn't get into the plot because I was so distracted by the way it was written. Hard to follow because of that. I only gave it two stars instead of one because the plot itself seems good if you can put up with the writing style.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amy Gennaro

    Thank you to NetGalley for giving me an ARC in exchange for a candid review. Hmmmm... Something good: I finished this book. It was readable. But not at all realistic or believable. Most of the characters were unlikeable. You sympathize with the horrible tragedy, but most readers don't want to be immersed in it. At least not like this. When the killer is finally revealed----it was obvious.....and the book ended two seconds later. No, I would not recommend this book to anyone.

  28. 3 out of 5

    Colleen

    I enjoyed this book, but the ending was extremely rushed.

  29. 3 out of 5

    Brittany

    The psychological aspect of this book tries to engage the reader into a particular frame of mind. The plot would often go back into the main characters' past traumas, not because it had any relation to what was going on, but to get you into the desired mental state. This was easy to understand. It was clear when a characters' frame of mind was not at its' most stable. The author was good at getting you to relate to the emotions and if nothing else- sympathize with them. I felt like there was an a The psychological aspect of this book tries to engage the reader into a particular frame of mind. The plot would often go back into the main characters' past traumas, not because it had any relation to what was going on, but to get you into the desired mental state. This was easy to understand. It was clear when a characters' frame of mind was not at its' most stable. The author was good at getting you to relate to the emotions and if nothing else- sympathize with them. I felt like there was an abundance of different writing styles used in the story. In the beginning, it was extremely choppy. "Tree, cars."- is not a sentence. There. Was. So. Much. Punctuation. 30% of the way through I felt like the author finally found her voice and the rest of the story definitely flowed better. Maybe this was done as a tribute to that was then, this is now, type of writing style but I almost put the book down in fear of the whole book feeling so stop and go. The remainder of the plotline gets interrupted at an extrenuous amount, to bring about emotional turmoil creating an almost trance-like state, and then snapping back out of it. This is not described in the text, it is just done this way creating the flashbacks. Everything that is happening around the scenarios, not so much what is actually happening in those events, is what this script focuses on. You are selfishly in the mind of the main character-the entire story but told through the third person. You get the bare minimum. The author writes of strong emotions and drops the details of how the character came to be- at her leisure through the entirety of the book. I feel like yes, a lot of messed up things happen in the main characters' past, but for me, no matter how messed up the past was, the current supposed justifiable actions had nothing to do with the past trauma. They just were not as devastating as I thought they should be, in order to cause that much psychological damage. I wanted more plotline. Hints lead me astray which I liked because it keeps you guessing, but then the way things were wrapped up, you are like... that just wouldn't happen. Some things were spot on, where it seemed like maybe the author has gone through herself? And then there were other times where it seemed just thoughts without research were used. I guess that's what you call a story though. Her distraction methods used in the book are the things that I wanted more details on as well. I feel a little more creativity could have been used with the cops and characters. Because the author did not touch on how the murders were occurring is what made this book fall short for me. I was expecting more crime/thriller/mystery. Details to verify things, the lack of discipline, and how easy the cops were to suspects, didn't make you sweat- something I know the author is capable of because she is good at getting the reader to at least sympathize, if not able to jump right into that emotion and grab it. It was mostly just psychological feels. I felt it was a 2-star plot line. I wanted more than a glimpse, I wanted the whole story-especially in a stand-alone. It felt too one dimensional for me I guess you could say. Much gratitude to the Goodreads Giveaway Program, the author and publisher for this e-copy ARC I won. All reviews are my own and voluntary.

  30. 3 out of 5

    Lori L (She Treads Softly)

    Half Moon Bay by Alice LaPlante is a so-so dark mystery/psychological study of a grieving mother. A year ago Jane O'Malley lost her teenage daughter, Angela, to a car accident. Ever since that day, Jane's grief has been overwhelming, all-encompassing, and consuming her every thought. Her marriage ended. In an effort to find some way to live her life, Jane, a botanist, has moved to the tiny seaside town of Half Moon Bay to work at Smithson’s Nursery with the native plants. Awkward handling interpe Half Moon Bay by Alice LaPlante is a so-so dark mystery/psychological study of a grieving mother. A year ago Jane O'Malley lost her teenage daughter, Angela, to a car accident. Ever since that day, Jane's grief has been overwhelming, all-encompassing, and consuming her every thought. Her marriage ended. In an effort to find some way to live her life, Jane, a botanist, has moved to the tiny seaside town of Half Moon Bay to work at Smithson’s Nursery with the native plants. Awkward handling interpersonal relationships and conversations, Jane is just trying to find her way through her grief. When the young girls start disappearing, though, Jane's loner ways and inept social skills put her on the police and FBI list of suspects. It doesn't help that Jane has no alibi for the time the girls disappear and for later, when their bodies are found. Her one, albeit weird and odd, obsessive need becomes her recent friendship with new residents, Alma Godwin and Edward Stanton, and her affair with Edward. But, as more information comes to light, Jane has been making bad decisions since her daughter's death. Can you trust her? I'm not a fan of the writing technique LaPlante utilizes in Half Moon Bay. The dialogue is italicized, and part of Jane's thoughts in a stream-of-consciousness style. The narrative is told through Jane's first person account but, because Jane is so consumed with grief, and has her thoughts stray all the time, this can make the narrative difficult to follow. While readers will feel sympathy for Jane, she is not a trustworthy or likeable character. Well, no one is in this dark, atmospheric psychological study (with the exception of Adam, a co-worker at the nursery). The ease in which Jane can be manipulated and seduced by Edward and Alma is annoying and disturbing. I've got to say that there is no great surprise about the plot or the ending of Half Moon Bay. Astute readers are going to know with certainty what direction the plot is going to take very early in the novel and will be correct. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Scribner. http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2018/0...

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