Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true. In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is grand.
Or is it?
When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It’s temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.
If only Ava could believe her own excuses.
Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.
Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town —Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game? Center of Gravity weaves a chilling tale, revealing the unfailing and dangerous truth that things—and people—are not always what they seem.
Having read Laura McNeill’s work under her pen name, Lauren Clark, and even having worked with her on the anthology, Merry & Bright, I fully expected Center of Gravity to be a good book and was excited to read it. However, the Southern charm of Lauren Clark morphs into a much darker version in McNeill’s Domestic Suspense debut. A version that is incredibly compelling while also totally getting under my skin. It did take me a few chapters to settle into the story after reading the pulse-pounding prologue and then being dropped into what felt like a fairly staid domestic life. This is generally why I dislike prologues. However, McNeill provides a few clues during the beginning scenes that hint at the drama yet to unfold. The story quickly develops into a page-turner with one very despicable bad guy manipulating the courts, spreading lies, and even threatening lives. The story is told from several different viewpoints, including that of eight-year-old Jack, whom you just want to rescue so badly from his sociopath father. And once the crazy train left the station, I had trouble putting the book down. This is one of those books where the villain is so awful, yet so realistic that it ties your stomach up in knots. Seriously, I was biting my nails for 75% of the book, both wanting to get the bad guy and rescue the innocents. Pick up this book for an intense and fast-paced, suspenseful narrative that will most surely have you questioning how well you think you know your spouse. Luckily, I’m single, so no harm done.
About the Author
Laura adores hot coffee, good manners, the color pink, and novels that keep her reading past midnight. She believes in the beauty of words, paying it forward, and that nerds rule the world. Laura is a fan of balmy summer nights, fireflies, and pristine mountain lakes. She lives in Mobile, Alabama with her two sons. You can find Laura Tweeting @Lauramcneillbks and blogging at lauramcneill.com. After July 14th, Laura’s suspense novel, Center of Gravity, can be found wherever fine books are sold.
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