WHERE I LEFT HER by Amber Garza

Motherly Love Can Be Deadly

In her newest thriller, WHERE I LEFT HER, bestselling author Amber Garza once again takes readers into a mother’s worst nightmare.

Whitney Carter is a single mom who needs a brief break from motherhood. Her teen daughter, Amelia, constantly tests her patience. When Amelia asks to go to her new friend Lauren’s for a sleepover, overprotective Whitney uncharacteristically agrees. She’d normally insist on meeting the parents first, but Amelia has been challenging her authority. Not only is Whitney tired of constant battles, but she knows she has to give Amelia some independence. Whitney takes Amelia to Lauren’s house, following her daughter’s directions, barely registering the location, and drives off when Lauren answers the door and waves.

After her wonderful evening of peace, Whitney tries to contact Amelia about pickup but can’t reach her. She assumes her daughter let her phone die. After hours of trying to get in touch, Whitney returns to Lauren’s house and rings the bell. Her discomfort turns to agonizing worry when an elderly couple answers the door and tells her they don’t know her daughter or Amelia’s friend.

As Whitney tries to figure out where her daughter is, she discovers unsettling things about Amelia’s life that she hadn’t noticed before: pictures of her sitting on a bench with a boy, beer in hand; a break from Amelia’s best friend, Becca; and Amelia quitting the high school swim team without telling her.

As she investigates, it soon becomes clear to Whitney that Amelia’s new friend Lauren is not the harmless high school teen Amelia made her out to be. Lauren reminds Whitney of her own high school best friend, Millie. Whitney was lonely growing up and clung to her friend. She would have done anything for Millie. Anything.

As Whitney tries to put the puzzle pieces together, she’s horrified to discover that a secret surrounding Amelia’s birth—a grave mistake Whitney made she can never undo—is at the heart of Amelia’s disappearance. As Whitney knows all too well, “The dead can’t speak. They can’t give confessions. Share their version of events. No one but [she] knew what really happened that night.”

It unnerved Whitney to realize that, “I’d lived a lie for so long, I didn’t know how to live the truth.”

Whitney will find her daughter. But can she keep her 15-year-old secret buried?

Read the rest of my review and interview in The Big Thrill.

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