You are currently viewing You Should Have Told Me: Book Review

You Should Have Told Me: Book Review

You Should Have Told Me, domestic suspense by Leah Konen

Book Review + Book & Author Info

Read my review of The Perfect Escape, click the link here.

You Should Have Told Me

You Should Have Told MeA new mother chases the secrets her partner left behind after his sudden disappearance in this pulse-pounding domestic thriller from the author of The Perfect Escape.

Janie needs a break: her baby won’t sleep, she’s struggling with motherhood, and a secret from her past threatens to tear her new family apart. So when her partner, Max, offers to do their baby’s feedings that night so she can finally get some sleep, she jumps at the chance. But when Janie wakes up at three a.m., her daughter is screaming alone in her bassinet … Max has vanished.

Alone with a newborn and desperate for answers, Janie searches for Max, but the more she learns about the man she loves, the more she wonders how well she knew him at all. When a woman is murdered and Max becomes the prime suspect, Janie must face her partner’s secrets—and her own—if she ever wants her daughter to see her father again.

An endlessly suspenseful and surprising look at both the beauty and darkness of modern motherhood, You Should Have Told Me is a roller-coaster of a thriller with family at its heart.

“Even the biggest thriller fan will struggle to guess the ending of this twisty, gorgeously written debut.”—Rolling Stone

“Konen knows how to write great dialogue and keep readers surprised.”–Albany Times Union

To purchase You Should Have Told Me, click on any of the following links: Bookshop, Amazon, Barnes and Noble & IndieBound

My Thoughts on You Should Have Told Me

Leah Konen puts motherhood front and center in her intense domestic thriller, You Should Have Told Me, proof there is room for every voice in the thriller genre.

Janie is a new mom. Her partner Max is a natural with the baby, Janie is not. She wonders what’s wrong with her when she doesn’t feel the love everyone promised her she would for her child. Then she wishes she had never had Freya at all. Anyone who has ever been a caretaker will understand that terrifying thought, and the fear of failure at one of the most important roles a person can play.

One of Konen’s greatest gifts as a writer is her understanding of the complexity of human behavior. Parenting is not like we see in the movies, the all bad of Mommie Dearest, or the all good of a Hallmark movie. Parenting is messy and scary, even when everything goes right. And for Konen’s heroine, everything goes wrong.

When Max disappears in the middle of the night, Janie’s fears range from him lying in a ditch, to the thought she will be trapped in single parenting. The tension and twists in the plot involve not just the mystery of Max, and later a woman’s murder, but also in the mystery of becoming a mother.

It doesn’t take having children to feel empathy and compassion for Janie. The endless stream of breastfeeding, diapers, and sleeplessness echo the reality of caretaking. Whether rearing a child or caretaking an adult with a debilitating illness, the tasks that make up protecting another human being can infuse every moment of a caretaker’s life. Konen beautifully and honestly captures the guilt and shame of feeling overwhelmed at the job society teaches women should just come naturally.

Someone should have told Janie how hard it would be. Someone should have told Janie that she isn’t alone in her feelings of dread and fear and anxiety.

Laced throughout Janie’s struggle with a newborn is the unfolding  story of Max and his disappearance. What happened? Where did he go? What did he do?

Konen provides enough reveals and reversals to maintain a breakneck pace, augmented with Janie’s personal struggles. Everyone in the story has secrets—friends, family, even the deceased. And it is those secrets that take Konen’s characters to an even higher level of believability. Because everyone lies. Everyone has fears, but Konen puts them on display. She pulls no punches with exploring the failings of parents, which then ripple down to the next generation.

Janie’s parents never modeled healthy parenting, setting her up to fail as well. And that’s much of what we learn from the rollercoaster ride Konen takes us on. Even when people do their best, mistakes are made.

Sometimes with deadly consequences.

Readers might decide to skip Konen’s latest release because the idea of a thriller built on motherhood doesn’t appeal, but that’s at their peril as they will be missing out on a terrific novel of suspense, baby and all.

Leah Konen

You Should Have Told MeLeah Konen is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied journalism and English literature.

Her debut thriller, All the Broken People was a Rolling Stone, Marie Claire, She Reads and Charlotte Observer best summer book pick.

She is also the author of The Perfect Escape and several young adult novels, including Love and Other Train Wrecks and The Romantics.

She lives in Brooklyn and Saugerties, NY, with her husband, their daughter, Eleanor, and their dog, Farley.

To learn more about Leah, click on any of the following links: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook & Goodreads

Elena Taylor/Elena Hartwell

All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio.

Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator

Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery



The Foundation of Plot, a Wait, Wait, Don’t Query (Yet!) guidebook. #1 Amazon Bestseller


Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.

Leave a Reply