cover image Someone like Me

Someone like Me

M.R. Carey. Orbit, $26 (512p) ISBN 978-0-316-47742-0

A single mother battles the seduction of her dark side in this gripping and easily devoured novel from Carey (The Boy on the Bridge). Liz Kendall’s ex-husband, Marc, is a violent abuser, and gentle Liz is forced to physically retaliate against him in order to protect herself and her two children, six-year-old Molly and 16-year-old Zac. Following that incident, a newfound rage boils over each time she is under pressure, and this side of her gradually develops into a vicious second personality called Beth. While seeking help from a doctor, her family meets Fran Watts, a kidnapping victim who’s grappling with hallucinations and memory loss. Fran, sick of feeling debilitated, befriends Zac and enlists him to help her research her kidnapper and restore her shaky memory. Fran’s own coping mechanism arrives in the form of an imaginary friend who directly opposes Fran’s confrontation of her painful past. When Marc threatens Liz again, Beth expels Liz and takes control, with devastating consequences. Both Liz and Fran must find a way to bridge the fissures of their minds before Beth causes irreparable damage. Carey’s mastery of tension and diversity of voice will keep readers engaged until the well-earned ending, and his handling of mental illness is nuanced without romanticizing or sensationalizing trauma. This intense thriller shows human nature in all its grimness and glory. (Nov.)