“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” —Margaret Atwood

At what point do we say enough is enough as a society? Women should not have to be afraid that they will be attacked anytime they leave their homes. They shouldn’t need to have contingency plans or keys balled into one fist and pepper spray in another just to go from the door to their car. Our latest read transports us to a quaint London neighborhood, where its quiet appeal makes it a target for a sexual predator.

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

In the best-selling thriller writer’s latest novel, Lisa Jewell, invites readers into the minds of three very different but entirely connected individuals. Saffyre is a teenage girl with a traumatic past who suddenly disappears one day. Owen Pick is a man in his thirties that can’t seem to get his life to move in an upward trajectory and finds himself in a dark place after being suspended from work for an incident he doesn’t recall occuring. Cate is a middle-aged mother trying to reconnect with her husband after a bump in their marriage the previous year, but finds herself preoccupied with a spate of sexual assaults that have occurred in her neighborhood.

When Saffyre disappears, Cate and Owen find themselves not only drawn into the investigation but part of it as they try to fathom what happened to the missing teen.

Readers be warned, this book deals with instances of sexual assault that occur on and off the page and might be troubling for some readers. It should also be noted that some of the characters who experience the assault are minors.

Jewell tells the story from the perspectives of Saffyre, Owen and Cate, which allows the reader to get a more comprehensive understanding of the events that lead up to and follow the disappearance. The writing itself is interesting and fast paced, which allows readers to breeze through the book if they can get beyond the difficult subject material. The all-too real nature of events in “Invisible Girl” will leave readers with chills as they find themselves wondering how much they know about their neighbors and what exactly people are capable of.

From the book jacket…

Owen Pick’s life is falling apart. In his thirties and living in his aunt’s spare bedroom, he has just been suspended from his job as a teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct—accusations he strongly denies. Searching for professional advice online, he is inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel forums, where he meets a charismatic and mysterious figure.

Across the street from Owen lives the Fours family, headed by mom Cate, a physiotherapist, and dad Roan, a child psychologist. But the Fours family have a bad feeling about their neighbor Owen. He’s a bit creepy and their teenaged daughter swears he followed her home from the train station one night.

Meanwhile, young Saffyre Maddox spent three years as a patient of Roan Fours. Feeling abandoned when their therapy ends, she searches for other ways to maintain her connection with him, following him in the shadows and learning more than she wanted to know about Roan and his family. Then, on Valentine’s night, Saffyre disappears—and the last person to see her alive is Owen Pick.

If you enjoy…

Readers who found themselves captivated by the missing person’s case in “Invisible Girl” will fall in love with Lucy Foley’s twisty murder in “The Guest List.” A wedding at a remote island goes awry when someone in attendance ends up in the coroner’s bag.

tinamarie.craven@hearstmediact.com