This review was originally published on Bookreporter.com.
Right from page one, Kaira Rouda hooks the reader in her new suspense novel, BEST DAY EVER. The story is told over the course of only one day, the day that Paul Strom has meticulously planned out, the day that he promises himself and his wife, Mia, will be the best day ever.
Paul Strom has a high-powered advertising career, a gorgeous wife and two young boys, a beautiful home – plus a vacation cottage – his life seems perfect. He is proud of himself and projects that image of perfection, of having it all, to the world.
However, we quickly learn that Paul is a total fork (jerky, arrogant, self-absorbed). Author, Kaira Rouda agrees with my assessment and has been using the hashtag #creepypaul on social media, go ahead, read it and join her.
Told from Paul’s point of view, we follow the hours in his head, a rather unsettling space to occupy. Rouda’s choice of point of view character is intriguing — there’s nothing like an unreliable narrator to generate delicious suspense — and the reader is therefore privy to him talking himself down from anger and outbursts as circumstances repeatedly threatened his plans. We hear his justifications and rationale, his shift in strategies and his concerted use of tools to keep himself under control. As the day progresses on the drive with Mia, from their suburban home to their vacation house, the tensions escalate, being in the car with them feels stifling and thick. At each turn of events, each shift in agenda, Paul desperately tries to get the best day ever back on track.
Throughout the story, the reader wonders what are truths, what are lies. Can the Strom’s marriage sustain the building angst? An angst that Rouda expertly stirs in the reader along with growing questions: How well do they really know each other? What motivates Paul? Why does the next door neighbor at their cottage make Paul so incensed? What is Mia thinking through all of this?
The stakes are high with the Strom’s marriage, family, and possibly a life, at risk. Rich with jealousy and rage, deception and betrayal, BEST DAY EVER will keep you on the edge of your seat as you drive with Mia and Paul mile by mile away from their home toward its gripping conclusion.
BEST DAY EVER is filled with suspense, mystery and is a fast-paced page turner. You’re in for a treat with this new one from Kaira Rouda.
© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2017