Editorial note: I received a copy of Girl in the Rearview Mirror in exchange for a review.
Girl in the Rearview Mirror by Kelsey Rae Dimberg is a wild ride from start to finish. An original modern noir packed with suspense and intrigue, you’ll definitely want to add this one to your list!
Meet Phoenix’s first family: Phillip Martin, son of the sitting Senator, an ex-football player destined to step into his father’s seat when the time is right; his wife Marina, the stylish and elegant director of Phoenix’s fine arts museum; and their four-year-old daughter Amabel, beautiful and precocious and beloved.
Finn Hunt is working a dull office job to pay off her college debt when she meets Philip and charms Amabel. She eagerly agrees to nanny, thinking she’s lucked into the job of a lifetime. But behind every façade lurks a less attractive truth. When a young woman approaches Finn, claiming a connection with Philip and asking Finn to pass on a message, Finn becomes caught up in a web of deceit with the senate seat at its center. And Finn isn’t exactly innocent herself: she too has a background she has kept hidden.
I love when authors use the setting as an additional character. In this case, Girl in the Rearview Mirror takes place in Arizona, specifically Phoenix, which is quite unusual. Most stories take place in NYC or LA, which understandably as there’s so many people that live there. But having a story located outside those areas is definitely refreshing. And not only does the story take place in Phoenix but during the dead heat of the summer, which is no joke! In a sense, the heat also serves as an obstacle on Finn’s journey to the find out the truth about this first family. The author Kelsey Rae Dimberg really paints an imagery of Phoenix—the landscape, infrastructure, so many cacti—as well as the many different kinds of people who reside here.
Even if you think you have some political fatigue thanks to the daily news cycle—I think that you all will be very much drawn to Girl in the Rearview Mirror. While this is a story about a political family, you won’t find much debate about actual policies. This is a really interesting look at a political family where everything all seems to work out because they force it—there’s no second option with these types. To me, those are the best kind of political stories in fiction—the ones that take a closer look at the people behind the politician.
But for Finn, she becomes so enamored with this family that she puts her blinders on—even when pushed by outside forces. It shows how intoxicating power and money can be, no matter how much one wants to deny that. Finn is quite an intriguing character. You know right off the bat that she has a dark secret but it’s slowly revealed as the book goes on. She also plays amateur detective to a mystery that she’s not really sure is real or not.
So you might think you know where this book will go but I have to say about halfway, something happens that takes this story in a completely different direction. And the surprises keep coming in until the very last page.
I highly recommend this original suspenseful tale. If you like Gillian Flynn and Jessica Knoll’s books, this one is definitely for you.
And there’s so much to talk about for book clubs! Click here for my discussion questions.