St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: May 14, 2019
My Rating: 🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪
Laura Lochner borrows a dress from her sister Rosie, puts on an uncharacteristic shade of lipstick, and drives Rosie’s car into the night for her first date with a man she met through an online dating website. She is cautiously excited, aware that she is putting on an act, but clearly desperate to find someone she can share her life with. Her relationship with men up until this point has been tumultuous, beginning in high school when the police found her with a bat next to a boy she was dating (or thought she was dating at the time), who has been hit in the head and killed. Although she was not found guilty of his death, the event came to define her life, and is something she is always running from, and constantly goes back to in her mind.
More recently, Laura became involved in a serious relationship with a man named Kevin, until out of the blue one day, he texted her that he didn’t love her, and asked for her not to contact him again. Used to years of being similarly mistreated, Laura took the communication at face value and moved away from New York City and in with Rosie, Rosie’s husband Joe, and their son Mason. Rosie is concerned about Laura jumping right back into dating, and tries to stay up until Laura gets back from her date. By morning however, Laura has still not returned, and Rosie begins to panic.
From there, we watch as Rosie, Joe, and their childhood friend Gabe begin a large scale investigation of what could have happened to Laura, while getting alternating chapters depicting Laura’s date, and the red flags that crop up as her night progresses.
This book was twisty and unexpected. Laura’s difficult relationship with men throughout her life was heartbreaking, especially once the final twists were unveiled in the closing chapters. There were a lot of moving parts within the plot, from affairs to murder to mid-life crises and midnight pizzas. The ultimate antagonist was not someone I suspected until about three pages before he was revealed, and I was satisfied with the way the explanation tied everything together. I also appreciated that after that reveal, Walker walked us back through Laura’s past, to show how he had been acting against her for years.
I am fully confident that I was shoveling these Sweet & Salty Kitchen Sink Cookies into my mouth just as fast as I was flipping the pages of this book. The recipe takes a little bit of prep (especially if you can’t find Kraft caramel bits, and end up cutting up caramel cubes like I did) but they are absolutely worth it. People ask me for the recipe for these guys more than any other cookies I make (and that’s saying something)!