Review of Not One of Us by Debbie Herbert
Summary: Jori Trahan has just moved back to her hometown in Alabama to care for her sick grandmother and autistic brother, and with the move comes the haunting memories of her childhood boyfriend vanishing. Jori has synesthesia, which means she can identify voices as clearly as police can identify fingerprints. She teams up with a local police officer and together they investigate the mysterious disappearance that has haunted her for the past thirteen years. But whoever is responsible for the crime will stop at nothing, not even murder, to keep their secret safe. When her brother is kidnapped, Jori must decide between solving the mystery of her boyfriend’s disappearance and keeping her family and loved ones safe.
My Review: I was disappointed that Jori’s synesthesia didn’t play a larger, more exciting role in the majority story. It started out as a good mystery/thriller, and I think if Jori’s synesthesia had been interwoven into the story better, it would have been more interesting. I also didn’t identify or sympathize with Jori very much. I felt Herbert was trying too hard with Jori’s personality and characterization. She kept changing her tone and was very hard to peg down; Jori didn’t seem true to herself. I found Teagan’s character to be refreshing and more relatable than Jury. I really liked having two female heroines at the forefront of this story.
I did figure out the ending of the story about halfway through (which, let’s be honest, happens when you read a lot of thrillers). I felt the ending was a bit clunky, but the writing and details throughout the rest of the story were well written.
Conclusion: This was a 2.5 out of 5 star read for me, which I rounded up to 3 on GoodReads. This one just missed the mark for me. I wished Jori was a more relatable and “human” character, but I just couldn’t relate to her. I also was not a fan of the way Herbert conveyed Autism: it felt a bit too dramatized and insensitive. This story had good mystery/suspense elements, and I liked the bayou setting.