Book Review: Evidence of Life by: Barbara Taylor Sissel

Rating: 4/5

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Publish Date: March 26, 2013

Origins: From Publisher for Review

Format: Trade Paperback

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: On the last ordinary day of her life, Abby Bennett feels like the luckiest woman alive. But everyone knows that luck doesn't last forever... As her husband, Nick, and daughter, Lindsey, embark on a weekend camping trip to the Texas Hill Country, Abby looks forward to having some quiet time to herself. She braids Lindsey's hair, reminds Nick to drive safely and kisses them both goodbye. For a brief moment, Abby thinks she has it all-a perfect marriage, a perfect life-until a devastating storm rips through the region, and her family vanishes without a trace.

When Nick and Lindsey are presumed dead, lost in the raging waters, Abby refuses to give up hope. Consumed by grief and clinging to her belief that her family is still alive, she sets out to find them. But as disturbing clues begin to surface, Abby realizes that the truth may be far more sinister than she imagined. Soon she finds herself caught in a current of lies that threaten to unhinge her and challenge everything she once believed about her marriage and family.

With a voice that resonates with stunning clarity, Barbara Taylor Sissel delivers a taut and chilling mystery about a mother's love, a wife's obsession and the invisible fractures that can shatter a family.

Review: Abby Bennett has a wonderful husband, Nick, and two great kids, Jake and Lindsey. Together they have what Abby believes is a perfect life together, until Nick and Lindsey leave on a camping trip and disappear in a terrifying storm which ravages the region. While all those around her encourage her to move on with her life, Abby can’t let go of her family until she knows what happened to them. Without their bodies to lay to rest or any recent trace of them at all to show they live, Abby is a woman obsessed with finding the truth to give herself piece of mind. Her obsession is driving away her remaining family and friends, as well as making people wonder about her sanity. With her relentless questions and fanatical hope, Abby discovers there are secrets and lies at the heart of her family. Now she’s even more determined to ferret out the truth and it might just cost her everything and everyone she holds dear, including her own life.

‘Evidence of Life’ is a heart wrenching story of a “perfect” family shattered by disaster and lies. Abby and Nick’s marriage has been blissful. Abby is looking forward to some alone time as her son is at college and her husband and daughter are going on a camping trip together. Yet when disaster strikes, Abby refuses to give up hope. What would you do if your family went missing and there was not a shred of evidence of life or death? I did admire Abby’s tenacity in the face of everyone telling her to move on. The more they insisted, the harder she dug her heels in to hold on. Ms. Sissel has created complex and definitely flawed characters, but whose humanity touches you deeply. Abby had blinders on about her marriage and family for a while, but these are ripped painfully away as she digs further into the disappearances. As she becomes more and more convinced her remaining family and friends are keeping the truth from her, Abby puts herself in dangerous situations. She is fragile, yet strong, and I felt for Abby as the pieces started to fall into place. Would you try to find your family if you were in Abby’s shoes or try to move on and accept what seems to be the truth? ‘Evidence of Life’ has you evaluating this as you watch the events unfold. Ms. Sissel has written a very compelling psychological thriller. This is the first of her books I’ve read, but definitely not the last!


  1. Thank you for this lovely and thoughtful review of EVIDENCE OF LIFE, Star! I appreciate very much the opportunity to be featured here and I'm so glad you enjoyed the book!


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