- Title: Rearview Mirror
- Author: Stephanie Black
- Paperback: 316 pages
- Published: September 29, 2011
- Publisher: Covenant Communications Inc; 1st edition
- Genre: Mystery/Suspense
- ISBN-10: 1608614638
- ISBN-13: 978-1608614639
Fiona Claridge, a smart and stylish New England college professor, strives to pull herself together after a car crash kills her roommate, Mia Hardy. Yet Fiona's guilt and grief come flooding back after opening a gift-wrapped box left outside her office that contains car keys and a malicious note. Shaken, Fiona travels to her hometown to attend a funeral but is followed by vivid nightmares as well as her unknown enemy, who leaves another sinister gift on her doorstep. She assumes the stalker is Kimberly Bailey, a disgruntled former student, and enlists the help of fellow professor James Hampton. But when Fiona encounters an old flame at the funeral, it's clear her student isn't the only one with an eye for revenge. Soon, through the maneuverings of her unknown enemy, Fiona faces criminal charges as well as continuing threats. As past and present become horribly entangled, Fiona unravels the truth about a determined killer, and finds herself on the wrong end of a knife.
Stephanie Black is well known for her wonderful mystery/suspense books. She has won several Whitney Awards for her writing and they have been well deserved. She always has a way of drawing you into the story from the first paragraph. Rearview Mirror starts with something happening that will leave your mouth hitting the floor. Boom! The mystery starts, and you are left wondering who "did it" after reading the first two pages. Here is an excerpt, found on Stephanie's website, from the beginning of the book...
Sleet whipped Linda Taylor across the face. She bent her head and trudged along the muddy path that led deeper into the wooded acres of her property. Bare branches dotted with spring buds wouldn’t provide much shelter, but this was exactly what everyone wanted for her, wasn’t it? Linda, cold and wet and alone. Shoved aside.
On the top of the bank that sloped down to the creek, she stopped and listened to the water rushing onward to oblivion, unheeded. Just like Linda. She tried, but did anyone care?
The wind tore at her hood, pulling it off her head. Sleet and rain soaked her hair, but she didn’t bother to fix her hood. It would only blow off again. She’d freeze out here, but better frostbite than going home to be insulted and ignored.
She glanced over her shoulder, but saw only the empty path, bumpy with roots, and the gray-brown branches of trees trembling in the wind. No one cared enough to follow her. When she was dead of hypothermia, they’d realize what they’d done to her. Linda wiped her face with numb fingers. She’d forgotten her gloves. Why hadn’t someone at least brought her some gloves? How could she possibly remember her gloves when she was so upset?
How could it be so dark this early in the afternoon? The sky was almost black. The creek gushed high up the banks, frothy and agitated. Linda leaned against a sodden tree and watched the water splash and foam around the chunks of granite that barely showed above the surface of the swollen creek. She was like those rocks—solid and reliable and always there—and this was her reward? Standing alone and drenched and rejected?
The roar of the creek and the pounding of the rain would make it impossible to hear footsteps on the trail, and soon Linda’s neck ached from her repeated glances over her shoulder. No one was coming. Sleet slid under her collar in freezing rivulets. The legs of her slacks were now so wet she could have wrung the fabric out over her houseplants to give them a good drink.
Her body was convulsing with shivers by the time she glimpsed the figure moving toward her, face obscured by an umbrella jerking in the wind. Swiftly, Linda turned so she was gazing at the creek. Not until her peripheral vision revealed that her rescuer had stopped a couple of feet to the side of her did Linda turn to offer a brave smile. “You shouldn’t have come after me. It’s better for everyone if I—”The shove came like a sledgehammer smashing into her chest. With a screech, Linda flew backward, her shoes skidding on decomposing leaves, her arms flailing. She grabbed for a branch and missed; a boulder caught her in the back of the legs and she landed hard on her backside, the air forced from her lungs. Mud crumbled beneath her, and she felt herself sliding toward the creek.
There is more, but you will need to go to Stephanie's website to read the rest of chapter one. Hopefully that just wet your interest. If it didn't, then maybe you shouldn't read mystery books. ;)
There are several story lines taking place in the novel, but they soon weave together as you try in vain to figure out who killed several people. Just when you think you have figured out who is behind all of the dirty deeds (There is also the possibility that more than one person is responsible) another possible bad guy/gal is thrown into the suspects spotlight. You feel like you are being bounced all over the place as you keep changing your mind about who is the real killer.
Fiona Claridge, the main female character, is struggling with physical and emotional challenges from an accident many years earlier. Her best friend was killed in the car accident and Fiona was driving. Fiona may appear weak at times, as she feels the pressure of her past mistakes and the current stalker making her life miserable. You soon realize that Fiona is stronger than you think as she attempts to attack her problems head on.
Rearview Mirror can be read in one sitting, if you are lucky enough to have the time. I did not want to put this book down. I played a game of UNO Attack with one hand and held the book in the other. I am happy to report that in 5 rounds, I won, while reading my book!! Your heart will be kept leaping and your brain boggled as you read of one frightening event after the another. The end IS a big surprise! I had my suspicions, but then I was thinking almost everyone was a suspect, but was shocked when it all came down to the end. Stephanie Black has definitely bested herself again. This book is fantastic and I highly recommend it to all readers.
Here is a video of Stephanie talking about Rearview Mirror. It is fun to see how enthused she is about her writing. She should be! If I wrote like her I would act the same way.