In “No Bad Deed,” debut author Heather Chavez presents readers with the thought that making one wrong move or just one poor decision, might change our lives. In fact, Cassie Larkin has always regretted not helping a victim of abuse she witnessed when she was in college, and she’s tried to make up for that lack in her current life. She’s a veterinarian whose heart is bigger than her pocketbook as she helps her patients with their beloved pets even when they can’t afford her skills. She’s a loving mother to her two children and a devoted wife to Sam, every woman’s idea of a perfect husband. He understands when she has to work long hours and can’t always be home for dinner or the children’s events.
But all that changes when Cassie stops one dark night to help a woman she sees being attacked by a large man on the side of the road. When she inadvertently gets too close to the attacker, he tells her that if she lets the woman die, Cassie will get to live. But Cassie isn’t going to let someone else suffer from her refusal to get involved and she manages to keep the woman alive until help comes. Maybe she shouldn’t have done that.
From that moment on, Cassie’s life is upended in almost every way. Her husband disappears while trick or treating with their young daughter the next evening. She starts to hear rumors about an affair that her husband might have been having. It quickly becomes apparent that Cassie doesn’t know what to believe, or what, in fact, she can believe. Her husband responds to her text by admitting, via text, that he was having an affair. But is it really her husband doing the texting? Cassie doesn’t know.
Cassie is an admirable woman. In spite of her doubts about her marriage, her husband, and what is going on, she is determined to try to save him. The police don’t seem to believe that the incidents are unrelated. Do they think she is lying? Do we think she is lying? People are dying and Cassie knows that time is running out. She has to keep her children safe, but she must find her husband. Who can she trust?
This is truly a book that is difficult to put down. While Cassie acts in some ways that will make readers cringe (like when someone goes down into the dark, boarded up basement and you just know there’s going to be something bad at the bottom of the stairs), she’s only human. And stress and emotion make people act in ways that are occasionally not completely logical. Cassie doesn’t give up, and we are rooting for her the whole time.
If you enjoy books that keep you on edge wondering how things will all work out, this is the book for you. There are twists and then more twists. There’s plenty of excitement, and plenty of mystery. It’s rather like riding the roller coaster — you really don’t want to get off until the whole, terrifying ride is over.
First reviewed on Bookreporter.com.