Honey is a psychological thriller that begins after Nicole Hewett’s parents were in a car crash that killed her father and left her mother in a coma. Nic is off-balance, alone, and vulnerable, but then her childhood friend Honey comes back to town after she and her mother took off the day after Christmas six years ago without even saying goodbye, other than to leave their poorly behaved dog behind for the Hewetts to care for. For a time, Nic withholds forgiveness at this betrayal but when Honey tells their story of fleeing her abusive father and recounts their adventures on the road, Nic loosens up because after all, she has always loved Honey and still does. They fall in love, but there are complications.
Nic’s mom recovers and is a bit more skeptical of Honey’s presence, but far more threatening, Honey’s former boss who “made” her participate in some bank fraud comes hunting for her. Trouble ensues for Honey, which means trouble for Nicole. It’s a wheels-in-wheels and betrayal-after-betrayal kind of story that leaves you guessing. In the end, it’s up to you how you want to interpret the end and what you think Nic will do next.
Honey was a satisfying novel in many respects. The characters were interesting, though Nicole was a bit weak and vacillating. Honey was complicated enough to wonder who she was and what she wanted until the end. However, it violates one of the biggest rules of mystery writing, in my opinion. In the end, an important character, one of the prime movers of the plot, appears more or less out of nowhere. A character we never meet, never have a conversation with, and yet, this character is vital. The first rule of detective fiction is that the criminal must appear early in the book, but here there is one criminal who is only off-screen, so to speak.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed the equivocal ending, it seems to fit best with the equivocal nature of Honey and Nicole’s relationship.
I received an ARC of Honey from the publisher through Shelf Awareness.