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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. 3 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. 5 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. 5 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

  4. 4 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

  5. 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.

  6. 5 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.

  7. 5 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.

  8. 3 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.

  9. 5 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.

  10. 3 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'

  11. 3 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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

    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.

  13. 4 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.

  14. 3 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.

  15. 3 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.

  16. 4 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.

  17. 3 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.

  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. 5 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.

  20. 3 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.

  21. 5 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.

  22. 3 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.

  23. 3 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.

  24. 3 out of 5

    Colleen

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

  25. 5 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...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Review can be found on my blog here: https://booksonthebookshelf.wordpress... I was excited to read this book as it sounded like a book I would love to read. The story follows a woman named Jane who has lost her teenage daughter to an accident that claimed her life. Jane is dealing with the loss of her daughter, and then the subsequent loss of her husband, as her husband decides to leave her for another woman. Dealing with the loss of her husband and daughter, Jane decided to move to the town of H Review can be found on my blog here: https://booksonthebookshelf.wordpress... I was excited to read this book as it sounded like a book I would love to read. The story follows a woman named Jane who has lost her teenage daughter to an accident that claimed her life. Jane is dealing with the loss of her daughter, and then the subsequent loss of her husband, as her husband decides to leave her for another woman. Dealing with the loss of her husband and daughter, Jane decided to move to the town of Half Moon Bay in California. A new start in a small town where no one knows her. Then one day children begin to go missing in Half Moon Bay. She identifies with the parents' of the missing children, as she can empathize with their pain and loss. Until one day the town begins to think that maybe Jane had something to do with the disappearances and deaths of Half Moon Bay's missing children. Did Jane have something to do with it? Or is she innocent? This book for me started off ok, but was very slow to get into. Even once I reached the halfway point I felt as though I should keep reading as I was sure something big was going to happen so I pushed on to continue. I have never had a book that I was unable to finish and so I didn't want this book to be my first "did not finish". I stuck through it and read the entire book, but it fell short to me. I am sorry to say that this book just wasn't what I thought it would be and it didn't keep my interest. I struggled to finish it. I found several parts confusing and it was hard to follow in some parts. It jumped around a lot from one part to the next. Thank you to Scribner at Simon and Schuster Canada for the free ARC copy of this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    "This will end in tears." I am sorry I read this book and even more sorry that I finished it. I had a problem with the writing style from the very beginning but kept on reading because I had enjoyed the author's book TURN OF MIND and thought it's just got to get better. It didn't. The main character is Jane, a middle-aged woman whose teenage daughter was hit by a car and died. Her marriage dissolves and she is unable to recover from this terrible loss. She moves to a small coastal town south of San "This will end in tears." I am sorry I read this book and even more sorry that I finished it. I had a problem with the writing style from the very beginning but kept on reading because I had enjoyed the author's book TURN OF MIND and thought it's just got to get better. It didn't. The main character is Jane, a middle-aged woman whose teenage daughter was hit by a car and died. Her marriage dissolves and she is unable to recover from this terrible loss. She moves to a small coastal town south of San Francisco and works in a plant nursery. And her life is deadly depressing. This is definitely not a feel good book. Young girls disappear after she moves to the small town and are found dead. And she becomes a suspect. Great premise but handled horribly. I received this book from Scribner Books through Edelweiss and Net Galley in the hopes that I would read it and leave an unbiased review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    From my blog and instagram account - @livereadandprosper Thank you Netgalley and Scribner for letting me read this novel in exchange for my review. The story starts off with Jane having flashbacks and living in the current time. Jane is remembering the horrid past of her losing her daughter at a young age. In current times, a little girl in her neighborhood has been found dead. She had thought that moving to Half Moon Bay may be the cure for her depressed state of life. Unfortunately, the chain of From my blog and instagram account - @livereadandprosper Thank you Netgalley and Scribner for letting me read this novel in exchange for my review. The story starts off with Jane having flashbacks and living in the current time. Jane is remembering the horrid past of her losing her daughter at a young age. In current times, a little girl in her neighborhood has been found dead. She had thought that moving to Half Moon Bay may be the cure for her depressed state of life. Unfortunately, the chain of events continues children disappear and Jane starts to see herself in a lot more of her neighbors as time goes on. Can she truly heal? Honestly, this was the most choppy read I've ever experienced. It was creepy, yet predictable. I could not get my head into the story one bit. I was bored and not intrigued. It was so confusing and depressing...the story just jumped all over the place. I was sadly disappointed by this read and do not recommend it. Sorry! 1/5 Stars

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Well that was . . . interesting. I never connected with the main character, especially as she got herself into one codependent relationship after another. And then it was like LaPlante got onto the "sex sells" train, and it was contrived throughout. Characters with god- and goddess-like looks and they all are attracted to one another all the while a serial killer is running around killing little girls? Ugh. No thanks on this one.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Jane is an accomplished botanist, now working at a garden center in coastal California. She has endured an unhappy childhood, the death of her teenage daughter whose motorist killer walks unpunished, the demise of her marriage and loss of only her misery but also her anger. She can barely stand to be around other people. She is the (unreliable) narrator of the story, but her doings and thoughts are pretty hard to endure. Her eventual involvement with a beautiful but dangerous couple sends up a m Jane is an accomplished botanist, now working at a garden center in coastal California. She has endured an unhappy childhood, the death of her teenage daughter whose motorist killer walks unpunished, the demise of her marriage and loss of only her misery but also her anger. She can barely stand to be around other people. She is the (unreliable) narrator of the story, but her doings and thoughts are pretty hard to endure. Her eventual involvement with a beautiful but dangerous couple sends up a multitude of red flags she ignores. The mystery was interesting enough to keep me reading but the ending left many questions unanswered, and for me, a very unpleasant, unsettled feeling. I loved Turn of Mind and hope LaPlante will write another book with a more likeable hero.

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