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Book Review: Molly by Terri Peterson

Title: Molly

Author: Terri Peterson

Publisher: Terri Peterson

Publication Date: Sept. 27 2020

Genres: Horror

Shelves: Female-authored

Young love, a broken heart, and a lifetime of longing. Were Molly merely a melancholy drama, that would be the end of it. Instead, Terri Peterson weaves of that a tale of lifelong obsession, rage, and increasingly uncomfortable unanswered questions.

Almost 50 years ago, Chris was a hardworking teenager who loved two things in life – rocking, soulful music (especially B-sides) and a headstrong young woman named Molly. As the story opens, he’s a lonely man who loves nothing, drinks too much, and is dreading the emptiness of his upcoming retirement. Over the course of a day’s drive with his coworker badgering him for details, Chris slowly tells the full story of how he fell in and out of love – but that’s only half of the story.

This is a book that’s full of foreshadowing and draped in dread. As Chris is telling his tale, we wonder how one love affair could leave a man so broken. There are all these hints and suggestions as to what she’s done, and what her father is responsible for, leaving us to fear the worst . . . but, in the end, Chris is just a guy who got dumped, took it hard, and never found a way to move on. It’s sad, but hardly the life-shattering tragedy we’ve been led to expect. Where the story takes a hard left-turn, though, is when Chris takes his coworker’s advice and uses his retirement to seek some closure and find out what became of Molly.

The second half of the story toys with us as well, suggesting things and leading us to fear the worst, but in this case that dread is genuine – even if it’s not what we expected. It’s a story that sort of stumbles upon the worst horrors almost by accident, only to drop a final twist that leads the story full circle. It’s a frustrating read, but in a good way. We’re hooked, we want to know what happened, and even if Terri teases and toys with us, she never does so unfairly. In the end, we’re left wondering whether Chris was right, if it’s better to wonder than to know, but the absence of hope and love in his heart complicates that question even further.

Rating: ♀ ♀ ♀ ♀

My sincere thanks to the author for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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