The Bottom Line: A pulse-pounding serial killer thriller that you soon won’t forget. Highly recommended.
Lester, a delusional killer who runs a family-owned inn, preys on teenage girls on the Jersey Shore. He finds them in online chat rooms, then uses email to gain enough information to begin stalking them in the physical world. After abducting them, he fulfills his perverse desire to make them resemble his sister Laura, who has been dead for decades.
While author Cathy Bevilacqua’s thriller is reminiscent of Hitchcock’s Psycho, complete with a creepy hotel and a killer with Mommy issues, Sincerely Yours is in fact a modern original. In an age when helicopter parenting is the norm, the tension between single mothers and their vulnerable, freedom-seeking daughters makes for pulse-pounding suspense.
The struggle between 14-year-old Sarah and her mom, Liz, is a highpoint. Both just heard the news that the mother of Denise McAndrews, who is either missing or dead, has killed herself. While Liz is racked with a sense of growing dread, Sarah’s quest for sex, tattoos, cigarettes and online chats with strangers continues undaunted. Her behavior threatens to influence peers like Melinda, whose relationship with her mother Maryanne is also fraying.
Bevilacqua creates a high-stakes universe where girls living with single moms or abusive parents are subject to natural temptations that erode innocence and feed Lester’s insatiable appetite for darkness. A community of quirky neighbors, contractors and investigators round out the creepy atmosphere. The result is a believable thriller that will make parents everywhere hold their daughters tight.