The Necklace

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Pub Date Sep 07 2021 | Archive Date Dec 20 2021

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The clock ticks down in a heart-pounding crusade for justice

Susan Lentigo’s daughter was murdered twenty years ago—and now, at long last, this small-town waitress sets out on a road trip all the way from Upstate New York to North Dakota to witness the killer’s execution.

On her journey she discovers shocking new evidence that leads her to suspect the condemned man is innocent—and the real killer is still free. Even worse, her prime suspect has a young daughter who’s at terrible risk. With no money and no time to spare, Susan sets out to uncover the truth before an innocent man gets executed and another little girl is killed.

But the FBI refuses to reopen the case. They—and Susan’s own mother—believe she’s just having an emotional breakdown. Reaching deep, Susan finds an inner strength she never knew she had. With the help of two unlikely allies—a cynical, defiant teenage girl and the retired cop who made the original arrest—Susan battles the FBI to put the real killer behind bars. Will she win justice for the condemned man—and her daughter—at last?

Perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and Harlan Coben

Optioned for film—with Leonardo DiCaprio attached as producer
The clock ticks down in a heart-pounding crusade for justice

Susan Lentigo’s daughter was murdered twenty years ago—and now, at long last, this small-town waitress sets out on a road trip all the way...

Advance Praise

Praise for The Necklace:

“Small-town waitress Susan Lentigo embarks on a thousand-mile journey to witness the execution of the killer who took her daughter 20 years earlier only to discover that he just might be innocent. Yet, with the real killer roaming free and another child in danger, no one will listen to her protestations? The clock is ticking. Great characters, fast-paced, and a twisty plot. The Necklace is what a thriller should be.” —D. P. Lyle, Macavity and Benjamin Franklin Award-winning author

“Matt Witten has always been one of the smartest, most inventive writers I know… and he proves it with this gripping crime novel. The Necklace’s brave, truly unforgettable heroine grabbed my heart as she sought justice for her daughter – fighting the FBI, her ex-husband, and even her own mother along the way. This compelling, powerful read will stay with you long after you've turned the final page.” —Lee Goldberg, New York Times best-selling author

Thelma and Louise meets The Green Mile in this unique and powerful thriller following one mother’s cross-country journey to find the truth.” —Lisa Gardner, New York Times best-selling author

“[The Necklace] is as fast and tense as a great thriller should be, but it's full of warmth and humanity too—one small-town woman's quest for the most poignant kind of justice you could imagine. Buy it today and read it tonight!” —Lee Child, New York Times best-selling author

Praise for The Necklace:

“Small-town waitress Susan Lentigo embarks on a thousand-mile journey to witness the execution of the killer who took her daughter 20 years earlier only to discover that he...

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ISBN 9781608094585
PRICE $26.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

This was a thrilling roller coaster of a story. Susan lost her daughter, when she was kidnapped and murdered. Now twenty years later Susan is taking a road trip to witness the execution of the man convicted of the crime. As she makes her way there she stumbles across new evidence that changes everything she thought was true. Now she is in a race against time to find out the truth and maybe saving an innocent man from being executed. Thank you Netgalley for this ARC.

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Book Review Time

Thanks NetGalley and Oceanview Publishing for the advanced copy!

The Necklace by Matt Witten

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

20 years ago Amy lost her life. Now The Monster is on death row awaiting his execution. Amy’s mother Susan has been waiting 20 years for this moment. Will it be everything she wanted?

-I loved the flashbacks to 20 years ago to learn how everything went down during the investigation.
-I loved that it had me almost playing detective the whole time with Susan.

-The writing style just seemed a little off the first few chapters, I believe it was just getting the reader used to going from past to present, and then it ended up getting much better.
-I didn’t care for the epilogue in all honesty. I think one was needed, but this one actually threw me off. Obviously can’t go into details without spoilers, but I didn’t like it.

My thoughts:

So honestly the first few chapters were kind of boring. You meet Amy, then you know she dies by chapter 2 which you also know if you read the synopsis. Just nothing major really seemed to happen. It’s all just factual. Then the end of chapter 5 has me like. “Okay Matt Witten. Okay. You got me intrigued now!” And then it almost had ‘Girl On The Train’ vibes. I couldn’t tell who “the monster” was, and then I’d guess and be wrong. Then guessing who really did it or didn’t do it. Then I’m thinking Susan is the crazy one and she did it. And seriously going back and forth every few chapters on what I thought. And then the end you were like dropping your jaw on the ground! I will say if you are easily triggered my murders involving children, this isn’t for you. It deals with some heavy gruesome stuff. Overall it was a crazy rollarcoaster ride and a great thriller that by the half way point I couldn’t put down because I HAD TO KNOW!

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The Necklace is and interesting crime story about the kidnap and murder of a little girl, based on true events. I found it hard to warm to the main character Susan, the mother, but love the character Kyra. With thanks to NetGalley for my digital copy.

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The Necklace is a gripping murder mystery about a mother's love, deadly secrets, and the elusive truth. Susan Lentigo has been grappling with her daughter's violent death for twenty years and hopes to find relief at the execution of the man convicted of the crime. However, on her journey there, she discovers new evidence that throws everything into doubt. Susan must rely on her instincts, her strength, and unlikely allies to avenge her daughter's death by discovering the truth.

Witten crafts a tightly-wound novel that keeps the reader guessing and engaged until the final moments. Even when I was convinced I knew who the killer was, I had no idea how the protagonist and her friends would catch him. Susan, a working class waitress, is a relatable protagonist who is easy to empathize with. Whether she's searching her memory for clues or searching for a place to sleep on a cold night - her tenacity is admirable. Simply put, you want her to win.

Although the story is served well by such a likable protagonist, the supporting characters left something to be desired. The fast pace of the story meant that we didn't get to spend as much time with them and subsequently they felt more like footnotes than true allies. However, they served the narrative well and their relationships with Susan led to a satisfying epilogue of an ending.

Although I would recommend this thriller, I would do it with a note of caution due to the subject matter. Susan's daughter, Amy, is sexually assaulted before she is murdered. This fact is repeated throughout the novel in varying detail by multiple characters. At times, I didn't think rehashing the grisly details was necessary for the scene and although it was very uncomfortable to read- it didn't prevent me from enjoying the book overall. I think any potential reader should be fully aware of the subject matter before picking up this book, despite how well written it is.

CW: death, grief, murder, assault, sexual assault, pedophilia, prison

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This was a really good read. I’ve enjoyed the rollercoaster ride. 🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating from me! Thank you Oceanview, Netgalley, and Matt Witten for this book in exchange for my honest review.

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I always say that it's highly intelligent to include children in a thriller story. Since we all share the fear of destroying a child's innocence. This story depicted every mother's worst fear, the murder of her child, and Witten write it realistically. There is not one point in this book that you feel like Susan (the mother) is doing something irrational (considering the circumstance), which is always a blessing when an author fully understands the human psychology behind grieving.

One of the best things from this story is the back and forth timeline (days of the crime to 20 years later) which helped keep the reader intrigued the whole time. I also really appreciated that the author doesn't discuss more the crime than necessary (since some authors have the tendency to put more gore than necessary). The thing that surprised me the most about this story is the sense of community that I felt after reading since in many instances where Susan is struggling there is someone there to support her. An example is a fundraiser in the beginning.

In conclusion, the Necklace is one of the cleanest plot, tone, and dialogue wise mystery-thrillers that I have read in a while. It is making me crave more from Matt Witten. I will definitely keep an eye out for more of his works.

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They say that losing a child is like walking around without a heart. This book proves that you can never stop an angry Mama Bear in her search for the truth.

The Necklace by Matt Witten is one of those books that leave the reader with what we call a “book hangover.” They can’t stop thinking about the world they set the book in. The story is over, but it remains with you for a long time.

Susan Lentigo lost her daughter, Amy, to a brutal murder and rape 20 years ago. The Necklace opens at a fundraiser being thrown for Susan so she can watch the execution of Amy’s killer in North Dakota. The reader learns that Susan, a server, and her mother, Lenora, live in Upstate New York. Susan’s friends and family have raised enough money to get her to the execution and back, but unfortunately, things don’t quite go as planned. Within one day of her leaving, her car has broken down and her money stolen. But being the strong woman she is, she moves forward, eating leftover food in diners and sleeping in bus stations. She doesn’t turn back.

Danny Lentigo, Susan’s ex-husband, now lives in Tamarack, NY—two hours from Lake Luzerne, where she lives. They separated a year after their daughter was killed and haven’t spoken since. The bus Susan has taken to North Dakota stops in Tamarack and she makes an impulsive decision to get off and see Danny. After the unpleasant visit, as she is leaving his office, she sees a picture of his daughter wearing the beaded necklace that was never found after Amy was killed. Susan leaves with the sense that maybe not all is as it seems, and they may execute the wrong person.

This book takes the reader on a wild ride and introduces a cast of characters who are all unforgettable in their own way. From Susan’s elderly mother, Lenora, to Kyra, the rebellious teenager who assists her in finding the truth, to the retired FBI agent who convicted the original suspect.

Matt Witten is a former writer for Law & Order and his knowledge of crime and the legal system is a true benefit. He keeps the reader guessing until the very last page. And with each high and low, readers will want to keep going. You can’t help but rally behind this mother seeking justice for her daughter and making sure the right man pays for the crime.

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Great book that kept me up reading. The first real mystery page turner I have read in a while. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes thrillers.

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The book had an overall feel of a screenplay,though there was enough suspense . They are all scenes than chapters which also felt ok till the main character goes over the top with actions unrealistic. Susan has temperamental outbursts and her starving for food scenes were repetitive. The end twist which we can guess comes about with a very ridiculous explanation at the 11th hour....too gimmicky!!!. The FBI seem to be a bunch of dummies.Final gripe...Susan has a flip phone in 2015.,so doesn't know to type on a modern cellphone....🙄

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Holy cow this was a wild ride and I was here for it!
What to say? This was such a great read. From Benito the very end I devoured every second of it!
The writing was spot on. The characters what????? Amazing!
I didn't want this story to end!!!! I wanted more.

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A life-or-death thrill ride down a dark and twisty rabbit hole. Matt Witten is definitely a writer to watch. You won't be able to put this one down, and it keeps you guessing to the end.

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The clock ticks down in a heart-pounding crusade for justice

Susan Lentigo is on a mission after the death of her daughter 20 years ago, she is finally going to witness the execution of the man accused and found guilty of murder. However, it seems there is more to the story. More information is found that seems to implicate a different man. Can Susan get the information she needs in time to stop the execution? There is another young lady who is also involved. This is a heart stopping thriller that at first seems to go a bit slow but picks up with a vengeance. While the plot may seem like something that you have read before, the author has made it his own with added personality.’ I read this in one sitting as I just could not put it down.

Thank you to netgalley as well as the author/publisher for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Necklace.

I love mysteries and I'm always on the lookout for a new author to read.

The Necklace was a formulaic story with a narrative I've read before; the main character realizes the murderer charged with the death of her child may be innocent and a race against time ensues.

I found Susan a relatable character; she was determined and focused on discovering her daughter's killer but I did not like her.

I'm not a fan of books where the mother or parental figure 'does not see' signs that her spouse was a predator.

I also felt Susan's antics in procuring the necklace almost comical, and I'm sure that's not what the author intended when he wrote the scene.

The way the retired federal agent believes Susan so quickly and the climatic scene at an execution (of all places) was a bit melodramatic.

I did like that Susan and Kyra's relationship grows from their brief interaction and Kyra shows up at the end of the book.

The Necklace wasn't a bad read but it wasn't as suspenseful as I had hoped.

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ THE NECKLACE - Matt Witten

Wow!, What a thriller! Although when I first started this I was reading between 4 books, I got to a certain part and I was hooked. Read to the very last word, even the authors note...Hard to believe a male author has based a defiant teenage girl on himself, made me laugh nonetheless. Praise to the author where praise is due and it's not often I finish a book feeling satisfied with the ending but this truly was a great read.

Susan Lentingo is on a mission and rightly so. My heart went out to this lady and I felt every emotion with her as she hunted for the killer of her daughter. I loved the inner strength Susan summoned up and the help she got from a teenage girl and a retired cop to get justice.

Excellent read, would definitely recommend.

Review also published on Goodreads.

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A Mother’s Worst Nightmare

Matt Witten took an old plot and made it believable and emotional in this novel. The seven-year-old daughter of Susan and Danny Lentigo had been murdered twenty years ago. Susan, now divorced, remained a devastated woman. She is planning to travel to North Dakota to witness the execution.

She has little money or worldly goods, but she has good friends. As a waitress in a diner in upstate New York, she earns a meager income and lives on the cusp. She has been divorced from Danny, who has now remarried.

Witten makes smart moves right from the beginning. He places the reader in the everyday life of Susan and Danny, before the death of her daughter. There were money pressures but Susan was not a nag. After too many miscarriages, she gave birth to her fun-loving daughter, Amy. Then her young daughter was murdered and her world was shattered. Witten forcefully, the author has Susan display high powered emotion during the days they are looking for her missing daughter and then her bottomless depression. One can feel her stress, breaking heart and a realistic loss of hope. She never recaptured her old life or tried to make a new one. She lived from day to day in heartbreak.

With the monetary help of her friends, Susan is able to plan a trip to North Dakota for the execution. Nothing is easy for Susan, her old car breaks down, money is stolen from her, she has nowhere to sleep and no food. For a few days, she becomes a scavenger, it is quite sad, but Susan never feels sorry for herself. She is a highly emotional woman whose existence is plagued by the death of Amy. She never went to college or had a career. Sometimes her sentences were filled with profanities aimed at another person or group.

The other primary character, Danny, is carefully crafted. Every sentence about him tells us something. Lorna, Susan’s mother, is a nice woman, who wants the best of her daughter but there is a chasm between them. Then there is Kyra, who is the most interesting character. You’ve seen or met Kyra’s, they look different,, maybe with tattoos or ear piercing, but they are really street-smart and have good souls. Each character serves a purpose in this novel, including the members of the FBI.

Susan’s obsession to witness the execution is understandable but nothing will replace the loss of her child. She never could repair her life or experience closure. The author takes us on a long and arduous trip of desperation to North Dakota. Something is always happening, it is not dull.

Combining Susan’s loss and mania, Witten adds punch and fascination to a stereotyped plot.

My gratitude to NetGalley and Oceanview Publishing for this pre=published book for an honest review.

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A good thriller is a page turner and this book did not disappoint! The Necklace offered all the necessities of a thriller with the added bonus of relatable characters, humanity, and humor. The grit shown by Susan Lentigo made me cheer as I turned each page, rooting for her to find the clues needed to find justice for her daughter Amy. As the story line unfolded the twists and turns made me read faster and faster! And finally, JUSTICE!!