Friday, June 11, 2021

Showcase: I Don't Forgive You by Aggie Blum Thompson

Today I'm showcasing Aggie Blum Thompson's debut, I Don't Forgive You.
Enjoy!

ISBN-13: 9781250773913
Publisher: Tor/Forge
Release Date: 6-08-2021
Length: 352pp
Buy It: Amazon/ B&N/ IndieBound

ADD TO: GOODREADS

Overview:


Perfect for book clubs or the beach, Aggie Blum Thompson's I Don't Forgive You is a page-turning, thrilling debut "not to be missed." (Wendy Walker)

An accomplished photographer and the devoted mom of an adorable little boy, Allie Ross has just moved to an upscale DC suburb, the kind of place where parenting feels like a competitive sport. Allie’s desperate to make a good first impression. Then she’s framed for murder.

It all starts at a neighborhood party when a local dad corners Allie and calls her by an old, forgotten nickname from her dark past. The next day, he is found dead.

Soon, the police are knocking at her door, grilling her about a supposed Tinder relationship with the man, and pulling up texts between them. She learns quickly that she's been hacked and someone is impersonating her online. Her reputation—socially and professionally—is at stake; even her husband starts to doubt her. As the killer closes in, Allie must reach back into a past she vowed to forget in order to learn the shocking truth of who is destroying her life.

Read an excerpt:

1

A little innocent flirting never killed anyone.


“You look like the sauvignon blanc type.”

“Is that right?” The guy standing next to me fills my glass to the rim from a bottle of New Zealand’s finest. I didn’t catch Wine Guy’s name. He’s the same age as the other dads at the party, but he gives off a different energy, like the one house on a dilapidated block that has been painted.

Sharp laughter carries across the kitchen, and I shoot a glance at the corner from which it emanated. It’s three moms from school who completely ignored me for twenty minutes while I listened to them debate Blue Apron versus Plated, with a dumb smile on my face, waiting for a chance to speak. I turn back to Wine Guy and smile. Men are so much easier.

“So there’s a sauvignon blanc type?”

“Oh, definitely.” He smirks, which makes his green eyes crinkle. We are at that age where men get sexier and women get Botox. “And you’re it.”

I glance over at Mark, but my husband hasn’t paid attention to me since we arrived at the annual Eastbrook Neighborhood Social. I can see his dark hair and the back of his checkered shirt on the opposite side of the Gordons’ kitchen; he’s talking to some of the other men about the Washington Nationals’ World Series chances.

“I’m it, huh?” We’re flirting, no denying it, and I don’t mind. It beats mingling and trying to make “mommy friends,” as Mark put it earlier. I spent the first hour of the party wandering around, trying to slip into other women’s conversations, feeling like a moth who keeps banging her head on the glass, a creature too dumb to know she’s outside and is never getting in. “So just what is this sauvignon blanc type?”

I eye the blond streaks in his hair as I lift the glass to my lips, relishing the cool, tangy wine gliding down my throat. I wonder if they’re produced by the sun or a salon. A squeal behind me makes me jump. I turn to see a blond woman in skinny jeans and buttery-brown riding boots embrace an identically dressed friend. I watch them kiss on both cheeks and am flooded with both contempt and jealousy. Aren’t we too old for such conspicuous displays of cliquishness? Also, why don’t I have any girlfriends who squeal when they see me?

“Sauvignon blanc folks like to think they’re unique, creative.”

“Creative, huh?” I pull at my skirt—the damn thing keeps riding up my thighs. I should have worn jeans like all the other moms here. The immense kitchen island offers cover for my wardrobe adjustment. It’s large enough to lay two cadavers out side by side, the gleaming white expanse of marble daring partygoers to spill red wine on it.

“That’s right,” he says. “You look creative. Are you an artist or something?”

I can’t help but smile. I’d like to think that I haven’t lost that spark, even though I’ve become a mom and moved to the suburbs. I let myself indulge in the fantasy that this guy can see I’ve still got it. “Or something. A photographer.”

“A photographer, like Ansel Adams?”

I have to laugh at that one. “More weddings and family portraits, fewer mountain ranges. Although recently I’ve done a bunch of headshots.”

“Anyone famous?”

I laugh. “D.C. famous, maybe. Ever heard of Congressman Marcel Parks?”

“I think so.”

“Did his headshot. There’s a chance I might be doing Valerie Simmons’s. She’s got a new book coming out about her experience in the Obama administration.”

His eyebrows shoot up. “Val Simmons? I watch her on CNN. She’s a badass.”

“If you’re interested, you can follow me on Instagram. I’m Allie at allie-photo-dot-com.” Then I blush, embarrassed at how automatic it’s become. Ever since I took a class last year on branding and growing my online presence, I recite my Instagram address to everyone I meet.

“Well, that explains why you don’t run with the chardonnay crowd.”

“The chardonnay crowd? There’s a whole crowd?” I giggle despite myself. And why not? It feels good to lose myself in wine and banter. Since we moved to Eastbrook, a tight-knit neighborhood in the close-in D.C. suburb of Bethesda, and our son, Cole, started kindergarten, my thoughts have been monopolized by to-do items: buying school supplies, arranging lawn service, vaccinations. The soul-crushing minutiae that are both mundane and urgent.

“Sure. Lifetime members of the comfort zone.” He waves his arm around to encompass everyone else in the gleaming white kitchen, which is just smaller than an airplane hangar and boasts a stove the size of a Smart Car, as well as two Sub-Zero fridges. I wonder what the Gordons’ monthly gas bill looks like.

“All chardonnay furniture is beige,” he continues, not breaking eye contact with me, “and anything they’re not familiar with is weird.” He screws up his face when he says that last word.

But it isn’t just that Eastbrook is chardonnay country through and through. It’s me. I’ve never really fit in or belonged to a group. No #girlsquad for me. That wasn’t a big deal in San Francisco, and in Chicago, no one really noticed, but here in the suburbs, you’re nobody if you’re not part of one of the mom tribes—the alpha career moms, the stay-at-home moms, the PTA contingent.

I’ve made one friend so far, my across-the-street neighbor Leah, who has a daughter in the same kindergarten class as Cole. We bonded this summer, baking in the D.C. heat at the neighborhood pool, while our kids splashed around. Our running joke was that we were living in a zombie apocalypse, the only remaining moms thanks to a mass decampment for Nantucket or the Delaware shore.

Actually, I may have two friends if I count Daisy Gordon, but I believe Realtors are contractually obligated to be nice. Yes, she invited us to the party, but from the size of it, she invited the whole neighborhood.

“What else can you tell by looking at me?” I ask.

Praise:

“Masterfully written and utterly gripping, Thompson hooks you from the very first page. With edge of the seat plotting, this complex and thoroughly chilling guessing game races to a staggering conclusion. This one definitely needs to be on your TBR list.” —Liv Constantine, internationally bestselling author

“A terrific page-turner. Allie Ross has an enviable life with her loving husband and adorable son - until she moves into a suburban neighborhood where menace lurks beneath the glossy, Instagram-worthy facade. Don't try to guess what'll happen next - just hang on for the ride!” —Sarah Pekkanen, New York Times bestselling author

“A brilliant thriller that has it all—cliques, dark secrets, murder, and more—I loved it. It was twisty, relatable, and absolutely unputdownable. Thompson’s debut knocks it out of the park—a must-read for 2021!” —Carissa Ann Lynch, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author

“Aggie Thompson’s propulsive storytelling and relatable characters make I Don’t Forgive You a thriller not to be missed!” —Wendy Walker

“A twisty, suspenseful, adrenaline rush debut that will keep you guessing until the final page." —Rebecca Drake

“From the first page, I Don’t Forgive You grips the reader with jaw-dropping twists and turns. Aggie Thompson perceptively explores the creepiness of the suburbs while ratcheting up the tension as the story unfolds. With vivid imagery and sharply drawn characters, this is a smart mystery that will keep readers guessing until the end.” —R. J. Jacobs, author of Somewhere in the Dark

“The truth won't stay hidden, even in the leafy suburbs of Washington D.C. in the fast-paced and riveting debut, I Don't Forgive You by Aggie Thompson. Life in the Capitol is richly drawn as the propulsive plot rockets the reader through dark secrets that won't stay hidden and shocking twists that reveal things can always, always get worse.” —Vanessa Lillie, bestselling author of Little Voices and For the Best

“A smart novel of domestic suspense, as pinpointed in its societal observations and #metoo message as it is fun to read, readers will hope that Thompson is at the start of a great career.” —Jenny Milchman, USA Today bestselling author of Cover of Snow and The Second Mother

“A riveting must-read and a terrific debut! With secrets, guilt, and the devastating power of gossip, Thompson’s taut suburban thriller reveals the psychological damage loved ones and strangers inflict on each other—as hiding the past becomes a dangerous and deadly game. Wow—timely, chilling, and full of insight. I could not put this down.” —Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today bestselling author of The First To Lie and Her Perfect Life

“In crime reporter Thompson’s gripping fiction debut, Allie is welcomed to her wealthy new neighborhood by being framed for murder. The spot-on depictions of modern parenthood and suburban life make this story even more suspenseful, as Allie tries to find the real murderer before her entire life is destroyed.” —Library Journal

“Kept me guessing until the big reveal. A page burner that demands reading straight through in one sitting.” —Mystery and Suspense Magazine

“A perceptive and beautifully assured piece of domestic noir.” —The Washington Post

About the author:
Before turning to fiction, AGGIE BLUM THOMPSON covered real-life crime as a newspaper reporter for a number of papers incliding The Boston Globe and The Washington Post. Aggie is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers, and serves as the program director for the Montgomery County chapter of the Maryland Writers Association. For the past nine years, she's lived with her husband and two daughters in the suburbs of Washington D.C., which has afforded her a front-row view of suburban intrigues and helicopter-mom Olympics. I Don't Forgive You is her debut novel.

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