Title: Such a Quiet Place
Author: Megan Miranda
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: July 13, 2021
One Sentence Summary: Two years ago, Ruby was convicted in the deaths of a couple in the Hollow’s Edge community, and now she’s back, but no one knows why.
Such a Quiet Place has all the makings for a great domestic thriller with a convicted murderer returning to the scene of the crime and upending carefully cultivated facades, secrets, stories, and relationships. At it’s heart, it has two crimes that the narrator, Ruby’s friend Harper, must solve. In her pursuit of what really happened, everything that made Hollow’s Edge what it is, is overturned, disturbed and ruffled. Yet Such a Quiet Place has it’s ups and downs. While some of the thrill aspects were a lot of fun, I found it to be a little predictable and some the tension a little lacking.
It’s late June, just before the Fourth of July Holiday, when someone walks into Harper’s home. Unexpectedly, it’s Ruby, Harper’s friend and former roommate who had been convicted in the murders of the Truetts. But a mistrial was declared, making Ruby a free woman.
With Ruby’s return comes a return of the fear and tension that gripped the community two years before. The community begins to fracture as secrets are forced out and as someone seems to be spying on them and leaving notes, calling into question whether anyone told the truth of what happened the night the Truetts died.
I really wanted to like Such a Quiet Place. I love the idea of a small community harboring secrets and then having them exposed. Unfortunately, it felt a little too predictable and lacked any real tension until the last 10%. It was a little slow to get going and perhaps revealed a little too much early on.
I did think most of the characters were actually quite interesting. Their characterizations were consistent, but they all seemed to have the same kind of aura of secrecy, keeping Harper at arm’s length as though she hadn’t been a part of the community for years. Harper herself was a little hard to pin down. As the story called for it, she seemed to waffle from one position to another, but tried to maintain a sort of middle of the road approach as to whether Ruby was guilty or not. I liked that they all seemed a little crazy, making Harper seem very alone and rightfully fearful for her life.
What I loved most was the setting. Hollow’s Edge is quiet and secluded. While the community extends a little further, the story is centered on one particular area. The houses are close together and follow the same general floor plan, making it easy for all of them to navigate each other’s homes. It was an interesting detail, perhaps to add a bit of drama or tension, but I didn’t find it to be anything other than just a detail. One interesting thing was that much of the community was connected to the college across the lake, but it actually felt irrelevant. I liked that it indicated the residents of Hollow’s Edge had very intermingled lives, but the novel takes place during a holiday, so the campus isn’t really seen much, so doesn’t play a large role.
The community was fascinating. I loved how it felt like something like a well-oiled wheel. Everyone knows something about each other, has ties to each other, but there are still buried secrets that start to slowly come to light even as everything functions as expected. Everyone knows each others’ business, and everyone is suspicious of each other because of it. But they really are a community, which contributed to the only really delicious part of the story.
Such a Quiet Place really lacked a lot of the thrills I expected. I thought something felt a little off, like they were all choosing to focus on something irrelevant, not at all doing a great job of hiding something important to the story. Instead, they just seemed to ignore the truth while it was readily apparent to the reader. I did like that some things were unexpected to me, but most of the story was just really focused on Harper trying to figure out everyone’s secrets to piece together what really happened. There were pieces that were irrelevant, feeling like they were thrown in to add a little meat, but didn’t actually do a great job at helping to obscure what was going on. Overall, I just felt things were missing and threads were left hanging and I couldn’t help thinking the whole time that they were all focusing on the wrong thing.
Such a Quiet Place had all the makings of being a really good domestic thriller, but it’s predictability and lack of really twisty turns just makes it an entertaining quick read that also leaves a few threads dangling. I really liked the ending as it was fast-paced and kept the revelations going, but the rest of the story was a little slow and left me feeling a little frustrated.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.