Hello fellow book nerds! I was provided a copy of the audiobook for An American Family by the author which I am super grateful for. I had a very had time rating this book and thought on it for a while. The reason why I went with 3.5 stars instead of 4 was because it truly was not the book I was expecting it to be. However, I do believe book 2 has the potential to be stronger so I will most likely continue this story!
An American Family
3.5 out of 5 stars
Taken from Goodreads
Isaac Childs has the perfect life—until that life comes crashing down when his wife Ramie vanishes.
Isaac learns that his wife’s disappearance is the ninth in a string of similar cases. In the wake of this news, he struggles to cope, to be a good father to his daughter and college-bound son, and to reclaim something of an ordinary life even as he conceals his troubled past.
After the FBI makes an arrest, and his wife is presumed dead, Isaac begins to move on. Yet will his secrets catch up with him? Has he conquered his vices for good? And what of the FBI’s theory that the case isn’t completely resolved, after all?
I have mixed feelings about this book. The story was enjoyable and I was invested throughout. My problem was this is categorized as contemporary suspense, but it is more of contemporary fiction. Isaac’s wife Ramie goes missing at the beginning of the book. Her case is linked to other missing women cases and upon investigating, the police find and arrest the killer. Through a suicide note, he admits to killing all of the missing woman. There is further evidence which proves that this might be the case. We mostly get the book from Isaac’s point of view and how his life changes after Ramie’s pronounced death. He has secrets that he tries to keep hidden and issues that him and his family go through. I really enjoyed this part of the book because this isn’t explored too much. How a family moves on after a kidnapping and murder. There were some parts that were from the detective’s point of view once the case was reopened. I wish this aspect would have been explored more. This would have greatly contributed to the suspense part of the novel. The story itself was interesting but I was waiting for the suspense to be more present which it never was. When I reached the end of the book, I received the ending I was expecting. However, I was not disappointed as this is a great setup for the next book in the series. One of the aspects I enjoyed about the book was how it talked about the difficulties of addiction and the aftermath of losing a loved one. This make the book feel real as these may be things that people go through or have gone through.
I was fond of the characters in this book. They were all flawed which really brought an intensity to the story. Each character grieves for Ramie while dealing with their own inner demons. This truly brought the realism of how some may deal with a death in the family. The dynamic of the family was very supportive, which was fantastic. I enjoyed the way they believed and helped each other overcome the problems they were having. With a great family dynamic, I was disappointed in the dialogue. I am usually a very dialogue driven reader, but in this case I preferred it when they weren’t talking. Each conversation seemed to lack passion and was more straightforward seeming forced. There is really only one scene I can think of that seemed emotional and true.
Overall, An American Family by Jackson Baer was an interesting read but had the potential to be better. I really enjoyed the story and the approach but did not find it suspenseful or thrilling. This book would have been more successful categorized as a general fiction book instead. Each character was developed realistically which made me appreciate their flaws. Even though the dialogue felt a little forced, we were able to understand their dynamic through their action. I would recommend this book for those who enjoy a little suspense with a focus on family.
Like I said, I was offered the audio for this. If you know me, I love audiobooks. However, I would not recommend this in audio format. The narrator was very monotone and did not express the scenes or dialogue as I feel like it should have been. This did NOT affect my rating on the book but I do believe it would have been better enjoyed in an ebook or physical format.