Tell Me My Name (2020) – Erin Ruddy

Dundurn Press keeps my reading pile high, and full of thrills. This week, I dug into Tell Me My Name by Erin Ruddy, a tightly-paced thriller that makes me rethink about wanting to visit cottage country, and re-examining all my past interactions with everyone around me.

Ellie and Neil were going to have some time away, all to themselves, leaving the kids behind, and having a bit of a get away at their cottage. Despite some warnings about a cranky neighbor, the pair tumble into themselves, reconnect, and re-ignite their romantic and sexual spark.

When Ellie chases their dog onto their neighbor’s property, she discovers that despite the warnings, he’s not an irritable old man. Jake seems friendly enough, but practically invites himself to dinner, insinuating himself into their lives for one evening, before things take a really dangerous turn.

The following day, Jake returns to the house, and assaults and kidnaps Ellie, and threatens violence upon Neil unless Ellie can guess his real name, and his connection to her.

He’s given her three chances, and things will get worse with each mistake.

Ellie has to ransack her memories to figure out who this man really is. We are taken back through her life, and we, as the reader, are given an examination of how women are treated at work, in relationships, all of it over-shadowed by the threat ‘Jake’ poses to her and her family.

But that isn’t the only thing going on, it seems Neil has some secrets of his own, and everything about everyone is going to come out, and things will never be the same.

Ruddy keeps the story moving, taking us through Ellie’s life, and her experiences as she trawls her mind for the identity of anyone who may have become obsessed with her, someone she may have rebuffed, rejected, or broken up with. Who is he? And how far will he really go in his conquest of Ellie?

Ruddy doles out the story in white-knuckle bursts as the characters are examined, fight for their lives, and discover who they really are. There’s a frightening reality to Ruddy’s prose that will work its way into the reader, sinking its sinuous fingers into the theatre of the mind as they tale unspools, and events race towards their conclusion.

Summer may have drawn to a close, but Dundurn Press keeps delivering on those fantastic ‘summer reads’ that will keep you turning the pages. Check out Tell Me My Name, and other fantastic novels, available now from Dundurn Press.

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