Imagine making one uncharacteristic decision that pumps an unremarkable life up to a terror-filled nightmare replete with deceit, death threats, and distrust. Author Kate White does just that in her latest novel, Hush, which is as sexy and stylish as its first victim and as adventurous as its central character. White, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, introduces us to Lake Warren, a newly separated, successfully self-employed, 44-year-old mother of two whose world is turned awry when she accepts the invitation of an attractive doctor, a fertility specialist.
Unfolding in the fascinating milieu of in-vitro fertilization, embryo transfers, and big money, Hush is a thriller that keeps you guessing until the very end. Lake is a marketing consultant hired by a fertility clinic that has proven especially successful with the over-forty crowd which is known for high-risk pregnancies and increased complications. In the middle of a complicated divorce and just starting to feel good about herself after being deserted by her husband, Lake accepts an intimate invitation from the flirty Dr. Keaton. What follows is a tale of murder, fraud, disloyalty, and revenge. There is an entire cast of suspects that keep the reader guessing, never quite certain who the real culprit is. Lake’s resulting isolation is amplified; if she doesn’t know who the bad guys are, how can she know who’s a good guy? And who shaved the cat?
As if murder weren’t hassle enough, Lake stumbles upon shady dealings at the fertility clinic and introduces us to most of its staff and a few of its patients. Was the murder a cover-up for fraud? Did the murderer then attempt to kill Lake? Who has a motive? Who doesn’t? Just as the answers seem to emerge, something redirects suspicion to another character. By the end of the book, the reader suspects everyone, except perhaps Lake’s two children who have spent the entire time at camp.
The “lady in peril” story is nothing new, but White brings a fresh slant to it by featuring a heroine who thinks that asking for help and telling the truth are sure ways to lose her children. Even as she is being attacked, she thinks of how sad it will be for Amy and Will if she ends up a corpse in someone’s freezer.
Although this is White’s first thriller, she handles the genre well. One can’t help but wonder if that’s due to her Bailey Weggins mystery series experience or her tenure at Cosmo. Either way, she has succeeded in producing a story that entertains through suspense, keeping the reader turning pages as quickly as possible. Hush is a fast, satisfying read that faithfully captures August in New York (although late night walks down deserted streets may not seem wise) and the unique emptiness of Manhattan weekends. References to contemporary culture, such as octomom, the Olson twins, and Law and Order lend the story a trendy sensibility. The only negative is a too-pat ending that resolves every problem happily and leaves no string untied — all in the last chapter.
Bottom Line: Would I buy it? Yes; it’s fun.