Cover Image: False Step

False Step

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Member Reviews

I very much enjoyed this book.  It has a good story and excellent main characters.  I would definately recommend this book.
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Johnny and Victoria are married - college sweethearts - and parents to Sydney.  Victoria is at her job one day (she's a physical therapist) when she sees a video of her husband running out of the woods carrying a young boy who had been missing for days.  After the whirlwind dies down and the reporters go away, the police do not go away and continue questioning both Johnny and Victoria.  Victoria confides in Micah, her lover and Johnny's best friend about some of what's going on, but not everything.  She doesn't tell him about the surprising detail about the boy's disappearance that makes her question Johnny's every movement and she begins to fear for her and her daughter's safety.
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What a story! I really enjoyed this one and found it a quick read. I love reading a book and not knowing how it will end - even if I think I've worked it out.
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This is my first Victoria Stone book and I haven't decided if it will be my last because I've heard such good things about her other books. 
This one, however... Unlikeable characters that I couldn't relate to; a slow-paced story that was, in my humble opinion too long and; the big reveal wasn't that big. Not for me, anyway. That's not to say it couldn't be a real shocker for someone else but thrillers are my lifeblood and I need so much more from one these days. Sadly, False Step just isn't memorable - so much so I can't remember the husband's name anymore!
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This was my third book ive read by Stone and she's really become a favorite author of mine. This one was a little disappointing in the predictable nature of the story.  It  did suck me right in and became a quick fun page Turner. 
Veronica  has a secret and finds herself in a predicament that's worse than what she bargained for, by the end it all came full circle
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Psychological thrillers–ones whose tensions skyrocket the longer you make your way toward the end, and the characters growing more desperate for answers and scared for their lives and their situation. Those are my favorite suspense filled novels, and Victoria Helen Stone’s novel False Step is a perfect example of this type of book. I’ve been reading a lot of new-to-me authors this year, and I haven’t encountered an author that I haven’t really enjoyed their writing yet. I’m glad that Stone’s novel has continued this streak.

Physical therapist Veronica seems to have her life together, with a successful career where she can make a difference in people’s lives, a handsome personal trainer husband, and a cute daughter. But appearances can be deceiving and their marriage is far from perfect, with strains from financial problems due to Johnny’s bringing in an inconsistent income and an affair that he had a few years before. While she loves their daughter, she isn’t thrilled with how Sydney idolizes Johnny and has grown much closer to him than Veronica.

When Johnny goes for a hike in the mountains and finds a missing boy, he becomes an overnight hero. Johnny eats up the attention and turns into an uptick in his personal training business. But Veronica is uncomfortable with the scrutiny from the public–on her, on her marriage, that their child receives in school. Veronica is especially concerned when the police start to question her about Johnny’s whereabouts both on the day when he found the missing boy, as well as the day the boy disappeared. Will they uncover the secrets she is hiding, and worse yet, will she find that her husband has even worse secrets that he’s been hiding from her?

As a main character, Veronica was likable but flawed. As you got to know her better, there was more to like and dislike, and she was much more complex and fleshed out. Her situation was tough to be in, and she definitely made some tough decisions and very stupid mistakes. The secondary characters were fleshed out a bit, but I would have liked to see a bit more from Veronica’s mother and father. There was enough of them sprinkled in to get a good idea of why Veronica was the way she was, but I would have liked to see more from them.

I give False Step a four out of five. While the book started a bit slow for me, it soon picked up pace and settled in for a nice ride told from Veronica’s narrow point of view. Everything was told from Veronica’s mind and eyes, which made the story that much easier to be invested in her as a character.  The writing flowed well and was descriptive enough for me to picture the settings. The explosive ending was a little predictable, but I still thoroughly enjoyed seeing how everything would wrap up. All in all, False Step definitely shows how secrets don’t stay secret forever, especially if more than one person who knows the secret is still alive.
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This book has a lot of twists and turns. I wasn't crazy about some of the characters, however I didn't dislike them either. The ending was a little different than I expected, so that was a good change of pace. It kept me turning the pages. A good read.
I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley. Thank you, Netgalley.
All opinions are my own.
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A predictable plot and extremely unlikeable characters... I almost abandoned this one as I just didn't look forward to reading it.
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This was a very intense and suspenseful book! Lots of twists kept me guessing what might happen next. I highly recommend it!
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I really thought I was going to like this book.  I devoured the first half.  And then it slowly dawned on me that I was stuck in the tiny world of this clueless, selfish woman and I wasn't leaving.  I was going to slowly wind my way through self-hatred and denial until the obvious conclusion.

Veronica's husband finds the missing rich kid.  He's a hero.  But, of course, that's not really quite the truth, is it?  Veronica is flawed, judgmental, hypocritical, and overly unlikeable.  She makes up scenarios in her own head to make her feel better about herself.  And it doesn't work.  Her husband is a muscle-head who probably is way too immature, but overall not exactly who she makes him out to be.  Oh, he isn't likable either.  Don't even start to think that. 

The boy and his family are really secondary and barely mentioned throughout.  Both husband and wife seem to forget that they are people in their world as they navigate through their mess of a marriage.  And it is a mess.  Stay together for the kids?  I thought that was an outdated concept.  Not good to see it back.  I mean, look at how healthy it is!

So, I spent most of the book saying to myself, "Self, this can't possibly be what it seems like it's going to be."  And then it was.  It was so obvious I was almost laughing at our heroine.  Oh, sure, lady, just wait!  It started out promising.  I was hoping that the obvious plot "twists" would be red herrings and something would be pulled out at the end.  You always hope it was something that makes sense in hindsight and has you going, "Good show!  You got me!"  This wasn't that.  It was unbelievable characters doing unbelievable things.
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It really took me forever to get through this one. Very slow and not enticing. A standard domestic thriller, though I use that word lightly here. And no big twist or anything to redeem itself.
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Something about this one just didn't blow me away like the book Jane Doe did.

There wasn't anything necessarily WRONG with this one, but nothing stood out either. It's not that I wouldn't recommend this to my friends, there just wasn't anything that was memorable in this. There wasn't a huge twist, the characters were just okay (if not a bit unrelateable and unlikeable) . It's a shorter book so I feel like this would be perfect if you needed to reach your goal. Like I said, it's not a bad book, but there are others that I loved more.
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The book started off a little slow for me, I was unsure of Veronica as a character...however the story did pick up and by halfway through I was gripped. The "twist" was a little predictable too, however this could be due to the fact that I have read a lot of books with a similar 'plot'. The author creates tension well and builds up layers of each characters personality. I would reccomend this book to other readers.
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With "False step" I've encountered the same problem I seem to be having with some of my latest reads: interesting plot with characters sooo dislikable that it makes it hard for you to root for them.
Here we have Johnny who, after finding a missing child, becomes a "hero" and the media sensation. In words of the narrator he's presented as the charming, golden boy, but that's that, because there's not a thing he does that would led you to believe that. Instead, by his actions, he just comes as dumb and gullible. And then we have Veronica, the wife, who after being put on the spotlight, is afraid all her secrets will come to light. And here's where I really had a problem. She says one thing but her actions tell another, judges other people for their mistakes and then she goes and make the same ones. I lost count the number of times she says she doesn't get divorced because her daughter couldn't stand it, so she presents herself as some kind of martyr who's sacrificing on behalf of her child. Cause we all know staying in an unhappy marriage just for the sake of the children always works right, doesn't it? She repeats that she just wants her lover to be that, no more attachments, but then she acts all clingy and like a jelaous spouse. I felt like shouting to her "stop being so full of excuses!!"

Apart from some slagging around for the first half of the book, it was a fast paced read. Was it entertaining enough to keep turning pages? Yes. Could you see the twist a mile coming? Absolutely, but that was ok for me, cause at the end we don't get a happy ever after, and maybe that's what the character of Veronica needed to wake up.

Thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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“In this marriage of secrets and lies, nothing is what it seems.”

Right from the first few pages I had this one all worked out – or at least I thought I did! But then my list of suspects and motives grew, morphed and changed, with all not becoming clear until right towards the end and then still not preparing me for the explosive endgame and its life changing aftermath!

Once again, before commenting any further, I would reiterate that all views expressed here are purely personal, which is what makes reviewing rather a subjective exercise, as no two people will take away exactly identical experiences and thoughts from reading the same book.

I notice that reviews for False Step have been very mixed and having checked out Victoria’s alternative author persona, I do feel that perhaps the edges between the two styles and genres of storylines she writes, are rather blurred. However, having read Victoria’s recent blog post about that very subject, I can see why that might indeed be the case, although it maybe a little disconcerting for specific genre readers.

Victoria is very much of the opinion that…
“My favorite romances involve some danger…And my favorite suspense stories tug at the heart.”

Because I like to read a real mixed bag of genres, I managed to switch my reading expectations when I realized what was going on with the narrative. However, I would suggest that if you are looking to False Step for an intense, fast-paced thriller, reading experience, then this might not be one for you. That is not to say that the action episodes, when they do occur, aren’t nail-biting and creepy!

The plot, sick and disturbing though it was, wasn’t really too difficult to work out, although all the ‘whys and wherefores’ did not come to light immediately and certainly not as a result of any police activity or enquiries, which all seemed rather lack lustre and half-hearted.

I couldn’t really say that I liked any of the characters particularly, or if I am perfectly honest, felt much sympathy for any of them, with possibly Sydney, a ten-year-old child being the most honest and open of them all! They were all too busy playing mind games to realise the mental cruelty and suffering they were inflicting on themselves and each other.

Everyone apart from Sydney, had more hidden secrets, suspect past histories, double dealings and emotional baggage, than I as a mere bystander had the capacity to absorb! They were all so self-centred, selfish, secretive, demanding and downright weak willed, that none of them really deserved my understanding or empathy. Not one of them had the maturity to deal with their responsibilities and life in the real world, with Sydney unwittingly being used as a pawn in all their various scheming and machinations, as if that could somehow justify their irresponsible actions.

As it was, my 4 stars for this highly character driven story, were awarded for Victoria’s deep and probing narrative into Veronica’s complex character and emotional turmoil, even though there were times when I just wanted to slap her and call her out for her double standards!

Throughout the entire story Veronica seems to do an inordinate amount of whinging, whining and bemoaning about her little lot, whilst her own dirty little secret has more than enough potential to ruin both hers and her daughter Sydney’s future. Scratch the surface though to break through the barrier that Veronica has built up so carefully around the two of them, read between the lines of diatribe she verbalizes about to almost everyone around her, and you will eventually peel away enough layers to get to the basic insecurities which have overtaken her thinking and the sense of belonging and being valued, she is so desperately seeking.

Thoughts and feelings she has steadfastly held in silence since childhood have meant that now, as an adult, she is still making those same mistakes and bad choices, especially in this potentially life and death situation, which she just doesn’t see coming. Maybe if she had been happy with her own family unit as it was, instead of reaching out for something which seemed that little bit more exciting and ultimately unattainable, she would have found the inner happiness to enjoy the life she had, to the full.

Without giving anything away, perhaps this, her final choice, will finally set her free to begin again!
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I didn't have much luck with this book. I really enjoyed Jane Doe however, this one not so much. I almost didn't finish.  I only finished it because I don't like to not finish books.
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When Veronica’s husband Johnny finds a missing child while out on a hike, their lives are irrevocably changed. The media exposure attracts more business Johnny’s way, something the financially strapped couple needs. Although, Veronica wants nothing to do with the limelight, wishing to keep her secrets and marital unhappiness under the radar. She isn’t too keen on the continued police interest either, nor is Johnny. To say more . . . well, that might be too much of a spoiler.

Author Victoria Helen Stone’s domestic thriller is emotionally tense to say the least. Veronica and Johnny have a ten year old daughter who they love dearly, and would do anything for. I was not particularly fond of most of the characters in the novel, and that includes Veronica. It was through that link as a parent myself that I could better understand some of Veronica’s choices, even if I did not always agree with her. Veronica grew on me as a result. False Step was a compelling read which I found hard to put down. Veronica’s anxiety and fears play a big part in that. I wish I could say the ending came as a big surprise, but while it didn’t, I still really wanted to know how exactly everything would play out. False Step may not be the most memorable thriller I have read, but it was entertaining and makes for a fun quick read.
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This book ended up being just okay. I loved Jane Doe last summer and went into this with higher expectations. I still enjoyed the writing style, and will definitely pick up the next book by this author. However, the plot of this book was predictable and has been done before. Though it was done well, I felt like I'd read this book before and was disappointed when the book went exactly where I expected it to go after the first chapter or two.
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Oh boy, this book...spoilery rant incoming.

I went in with high hopes, having absolutely loved Jane Doe last year. Sadly, this very, very much did not meet my expectations. This was one of the worst books I've read in a while. 

Let's start with the main character: Veronica is an idiot. Plain and simple, she's a moron. Her motivations for doing everything that she does are stupid, she can't see the obvious truths right in front of her, and she's a grade-A hypocrite. As far as I can tell, the woman has the personality of a doormat and no redeeming qualities (except, I guess, if you're a criminal, in which case the fact that she can be manipulated and blinded by the D might be a redeeming feature?). She's also a grown-ass woman with some intense daddy issues, and she acts like a petulant child whenever her parents' divorce is mentioned. Veronica's choices and her total inability to see how she was being played made me roll my eyes so goddamn hard, I think I may have sprained something. 

The writing is also just...not good. At all. The author repeatedly bashes the reader over the head with the fact that Veronica can't leave Johnny because it would devastate their kid. Not a super strong motivator in my (kid-free) opinion, but whatever, it would have been an okay, if not very interesting, plot driver. Except that it gets mentioned. every. fucking. chapter. Seriously I don't think there's a single ten page stretch in this book where no one brings up that divorce is off the table. And not just in one line. Oh no. There was a several paragraph monologue at one point in which her lover reminds her, in detail, about why she can't get divorced. WE GET IT. There's also a truly bizarre amount of panting, barking, and growling happening in this book. It could be a drinking game, but I take no responsibility for any ensuing alcohol poisoning. The mystery? thriller? whatever? element of the novel is also eyeroll worthy. As soon as it's revealed that there was a kidnapping involved, I had the plot (including Veronica's dumbass responses) 90% of the way figured out. It was not in any way thrilling or exciting, it was predictable and once again, the characters all behaved like the meathead morons that they are. 

Really the only reason this book is getting two stars instead of one is that I had fun hate-reading it. It was sort of entertaining, just...probably not in the way the author intended. Woof.
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This book is probably more of a three star book, but I love Stone so much that I just probably was a bit more forgiving and I’m just being upfront about it now. The characters were so annoying to me because I just wanted them to be more and I wanted less predictability. The style of writing is still that which I love from her, but this book wasn’t what I’d hoped.
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