Please See Us
At the beginning of tourist season in Atlantic City, the hotels are still mostly vacant and the boardwalk sparse of foot traffic, and many buildings empty. Behind the seeding Sunset Motel, a killer has deposited Jane 1 and Jane 2 in a hidden, overgrown marsh.
Meanwhile, Clara, a sixteen-year-old high school dropout, lives with her aunt, Des, who works as a cocktail waitress and hustles on the side to feed her addictions. Clara’s contribution come from the tarot readings she gives in a dusty storefront on the boardwalk. She becomes obsessed with Julie Zale, a teenager not much older than her, whose face appears on missing posters all over town, and she begins having inexplicable, disquieting visions.
Lily, who lived in New York and aspired to her own gallery, returned to Atlantic City, her hometown, in the wake of a personal tragedy. She started working at a casino spa, just for the summer, she told herself. When Clara crosses paths with Lily, Clara senses someone who might believe her story. She whispers a secret that makes her unforgettable to Lily.
The number of missing women in the city increase while Lily and Clara encircle each other as they spiral downward while struggling with their past and future choices. But they are also the only hope for the Janes—unless their behavior draws unwanted attention first.
As tragic as Please See Us is, I loved it. I thought the writing style was beautiful, and I loved how Mullen evoked Atlantic City and described Clara and Lily’s internal conflicts. The book shifts among their points of view as well as others, and the stories were illuminating as much as they were heartbreaking, as the narrative explored the violence done to women in its various forms.
I highly recommend to readers who enjoy character-driven, slow-burning thrillers with lovely writing in the vein of Long Bright River.
Please See Us will be available on Tuesday, March 3. Look for it at your favorite bookstore!
Thank you to Gallery Books for gifting me an advance reader’s copy of this book!