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Book Review: Just Between Us by Rebecca Drake 4 Stars

Written by The Novel Gent


Genre: Thriller

Description: Four suburban mothers conspire to cover up a deadly crime in Just Between Us, a heart-stopping novel of suspense by Rebecca Drake.

Alison, Julie, Sarah, Heather. Four friends living the suburban ideal. Their jobs are steady, their kids are healthy. They’re as beautiful as their houses. But each of them has a dirty little secret, and hidden behind the veneer of their perfect lives is a crime and a mystery that will consume them all.

Everything starts to unravel when Alison spots a nasty bruise on Heather’s wrist. She shares her suspicions with Julie and Sarah, compelling all three to investigate what looks like an increasingly violent marriage. As mysterious injuries and erratic behavior mount, Heather can no longer deny the abuse, but she refuses to leave her husband. Desperate to save her, Alison and the others dread the phone call telling them that she’s been killed. But when that call finally comes, it’s not Heather who’s dead. In a moment they’ll come to regret, the women must decide what lengths they’ll go to in order to help a friend.

Just Between Us is a thrilling glimpse into the underbelly of suburbia, where not all neighbors can be trusted, and even the closest friends keep dangerous secrets. You never really know what goes on in another person’s mind, or in their marriage.

Publication Date: January 9, 2018

 Book Review

When I saw that Oprah Magazine had presented Just Between Us, a book I already had in my TBR curtesy of NetGalley, as a standout thriller I just had to dig into it. I think it’s safe to say that thrillers are my favorite genre and psychology thrillers a close second.

This story follows Alison, Julie, Sarah, and Heather in chapters from each of their POVs. They are suburban mothers whose main concern up until the haunting events of this book is keeping up the appearance of utter perfection. Fear from being found out to fear of being figured out and all things in between make this Desperate Housewives/Stanford Wives tale a psychotic twist of dirty little secrets oozing from seemingly perfectly poised mothers, domestic abuse rearing its ugly head, covering up a murder becoming a favor for a friend in trouble, and a simple throwaway question unearthing a nightmare no one can seem to escape.

There is a tail spin of consecutive events:

First, the secrets…

Then, the lies…

Next, the murder…

Getting spotted leaving the scene of the crime…

And of course, the blackmail…

Things may have gone more smoothly and according to the shabby quickly thrown together plan if that blackmailer didn’t thrive on antagonistic behavior and power trips. Although, suspicion should have been expected. If the jittery spouse was not the first suspect then her jittery best friends would certainly be a close second.

This story had Pretty Little Liars undertones to me and I mean Pretty Little Liars the book series not the TV Show. It was as if the four girls of Connecticut were all grown up still getting themselves into all kinds of murderous shenanigans that were bound to come back and haunt them and drive them insane! Oh, the fun. I loved the chapters being from each character’s POV. From first person, you can really feel the suspense, dread, fear, and desperation in a closer way. I see this story being optioned as a short series for HBO like Big Little Lies, but with all the extra laugh out loud black humor that works so well with these characters and Rebecca Drake’s writing voice. Just Between Us feels like a comedic woman fight back kind of story in some of its parts. Heather’s friends do think that they are saving her from her abusive husband. Although, becoming blackmailed murderers and accomplices wasn’t really a part of the grand plan it only adds to the quirk of this story and I love it. Oh yeah and that revelation at the end…you’ll never see it coming.

P.S. Julie’s an airhead in the best most bubbly kind of way. You’ll probably like her I know I did.

I give Just Between Us ✨✨✨✨(4 stars)!!

Takeaway Quotes:

  • “That was no accident.” I said, looking to Sarah for support, but she appeared to be waffling. “C’mon, you both saw that welt. Are you actually going to tell me that you’re not worried about her?”

“I know, but they always seemed like such a happy couple.” Julie said, a slight whine in her voice.

  • “That’s it? You aren’t even going to explain how the kitchen got trashed? Sarah demanded.

Before Heather could say anything, it was Daniel who spoke. “Daddy says Mommy is clumsy.” He laughed, looking up at the adults with an expectant, chilling smile.

Heather didn’t react to Daniel – no correction or contradiction. Alison and I exchanged glances, but it was Julie who said, “I don’t think your mom’s clumsy at all – remember, she was a model and models are very graceful.”

  • “Did he hit you?”

“No, of course not!” Heather said, but her gaze darted away and I don’t think any of us believed her. I wonder what fresh bruises her clothes were hiding.


  • “It’s fine.” Heather said. “No big deal.” She refilled our cups with a smile and Julie smiled, too, slipping easily back into the pretense that everything was okay.


  • “She shot him in the back of the head,” Sarah said, running a hand through her hair. “It doesn’t look like self-defense.”


  • “We can tell them what happened,” Julie said. “Tell them how abusive he’s been.”


  • Did he hurt you today I said. “Do you have any bruises right now?” …There weren’t any marks.


  • She could be charged with murdering Viktor. Why hadn’t Heather taken better photos? Why hadn’t we? We could have taken better photos of her kitchen for instance. Stupid, so stupid not to have thought of doing that, because we were so focused on convincing her to leave him.


  • I tried to pick up the knife again, but my hands were shaking….I tried to pull myself together, turning on the tap to try to fill a glass of water, but my hands were shaking so badly that it dropped and shattered in the sink.

“Apparently, he was the victim of a carjacking,” I said, trying to keep my voice even…I suddenly burst into tears. I couldn’t have planned it better, but there was no pretense.

The whole day had gone like that, just one mishap after another. As I drove out of the cemetery, I saw four ravens perched on top of a cross angel standing below them. It felt like an omen.

Michael sighed. “Things have been this way since you got that letter.”

My hands froze on the counter, a pool of soapy water gathering around the sponge, “What letter?”

“I saw it.”

“You did?” My thoughts raced, while everything else seemed to slow.


  • He turned back and gave me a look of clearly stimulated surprise. “You didn’t know about the prenuptial agreement?”


  • “…I didn’t tell him anything except that I shot Viktor.”


  • The strange thing about a secret is it longs to be told.


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All the Best Writers,

The Novel Gent

About the author

The Novel Gent

I am Grant aka The Novel Gent ~ Graduate with Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biblical Counseling with a Major in Theology and a minor in Psychology, CEO of The Writer’s Block, a Proofreader/Freelance Editor, Avid Reader, and Net Galley, Bookish First, and Tyndale Publishing Book Reviewer. I often enjoy losing myself in a good fiction piece…usually a mystery, thriller, or something dystopian. I read, write, edit, sketch, cook, listen to music of many genres, and am working on my debut novel.

With my company, The Writer's Block, I offer my services as an editor hoping to give writers encouragement that there are quality services available to them that will give them what they need and will not break their bank! I am also hopeful to use my growing platform in the “Writer’s Life” and Author’s Community to provide writers with resources about how-to get to their Next Level, and also exposure via my frequent Book Reviews!