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somebody i used to know book coverReviewed by Nina Longfield

Some relationships transcend physicality. A deep association can live indelibly on in the minds of those touched by the affair. These relationships never fade. They never change. They leave a picture of a glorious or forlorn time forever etched on the memory. They cannot be shaken no matter how much time passes.

Somebody I Used to Know by David Bell delves into one such relationship forever inscribed on Nick Hansen’s life. Nick is a hardworking, trusted, responsible social service worker. Since his divorce, his life revolves around his work. Outside of the office, his life seems grounded with friends, adult basketball league, volunteer work, and a rescue dog. Then one night at the grocery store before heading home, his life turns over due to a chance meeting. Not only does this young woman look exactly like his college girlfriend Marissa, her movements are the same as well. In a heartbeat, this lookalike stranger is gone and Nick is left dwelling on the past and the what if’s of his life.

Marissa Minor was Nick Hansen’s college girlfriend and the love of his life. From the moment they met, he felt they belonged together. They were so similar. Then tragedy took her away when she was only twenty years old. Now, twenty years later, Nick is digging into the memory of their relationship only to discover the past was not the rosy perfect picture he has carried with him. When he is questioned regarding the stranger’s death and why his name is in the young woman’s pocket, Nick becomes determined to link the young lookalike woman to Marissa. With the aide of his college friend, Nick is seeking a truth that he is afraid to know.

Somebody I Used To Know is well written with vivid characters and a tight story line. David Bell’s novel is engrossing with plenty of depth to absorb the reader fully into the plot. Somebody I Used To Know is not merely about the search for a killer; it’s a novel about self-discovery and an attempt to let go of the past. As Nick plows deeper into his search, he learns that letting go and moving on are not always an easy or workable option. He begins to wonder if perhaps there are times when the past should be left alone.

I recommend Somebody I Used To Know for its well-crafted story, engaging mystery, and developed characters. Nick Hansen is an engaging narrator leading the reader into the discovery of his past and how that shaped his current situation. I didn’t always like Nick Hansen. He seemed pathetic at times, yet I sympathized for him. I enjoyed the book and read it quickly wanting to know if Nick’s search would lead him to change or ruin.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Nina Longfield is a writer living in Oregon’s fertile wine country. When she is not reading or writing in her spare time, Nina enjoys hiking in the hills surrounding her cabin.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Penguin Group. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.