Growing up in Texas, Mariah Dunning’s favorite hangout spot was the food court in the mall, a chaotic scene that her mother, Beth, tolerated because her daughter enjoyed it, though she personally likened the spread and quality of the food to one step ahead of that served on an airplane. Now, though, nearly one year after her mother went missing, Mariah doesn’t find the space as enjoyable, instead opting to avoid the food court altogether, side-stepping any painful memories in the process.
Then, one day, during her first trip back to the food court after she and her dad step out for some pad thai, Mariah glances up and, through the crowded area, spots her mother standing next to a sunglasses display. A moment later, Beth is gone again, vanishing into thin air.
The moment shakes Mariah, who has always believed that her mother would never leave her. Likewise, it jolts her father, Craig, who has been the prime suspect since Beth disappeared and is often forced to listen to neighbors and those in their Lakehaven community whisper about how he’s guilty and even theorize about how he got away with the crime. Motivated by the prospect of reuniting with her mother and clearing her father’s name, Mariah sets out to locate Beth no matter the cost and starts her investigation with a Google search that turns up an interesting result. A new post from an active crime blogger details the disappearance of Mariah’s mother and another woman, Bethany Curtis, who was never again seen after leaving Austin for Houston in an attempt to flee her multi-millionaire tech guru husband.
According to the blogger, Bethany “Beth” Curtis vanished six months before Beth Dunning, Mariah’s mother, prompting a wild theory that someone might be targeting women based on their names. While there is no such record of a serial killer in Texas ever choosing their victims based on names before, Mariah knows that whatever is going on cannot necessarily be the work of a killer — both because Bethany’s body has never been recovered and because she just saw her mother at the mall, alive and well.
With nothing else to go on, Mariah reaches out to and then teams up with the blogger, who goes by the nickname Reveal, before eventually stumbling into a shocking, dangerous, and disturbing web of lies unlike anything she could have ever imagined. It turns out that a third “Beth,” Lizbeth, previously went missing as well, and her circumstances might just hold the answers Mariah so desperately seeks . . .
Few writers have shown the kind of versatility that Jeff Abbott has displayed in recent years, seamlessly transitioning between Brad Thor-like action-thrillers (The First Order, 2016) to psychological and suspense thrillers (Blame, 2017) on par with Harlan Coben and some of the other best writers in the business. It’s hard to say that The Three Beths tops last year’s Blame, but it’s certainly right up there, and Abbott’s turning, nail-biting plot will surely please even the pickiest of readers.
Two years, two earth-shattering twist endings, and Abbott has knocked them both out of the park. If you thought the ending to Blame was shocking, prepare to be blown away with the conclusion to The Three Beths, the latest must-read thriller from Jeff Abbott, who remains at the very top of his game.
Author: Jeff Abbott
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: October 23, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.5/10
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.