This Is Not Over

Holly Brown's novel This Is Not Over explores the risks on both sides of the transaction when one stranger rents her home to another.

Despite a local law against short-term rentals, Miranda has been listing her parents' old Santa Monica beach house on, and she's had no trouble with any of her guests--until Dawn and Rob. The couple has been enjoying stays in other people's luxurious homes; they have also never had a problem before. When Miranda withholds Dawn's security deposit due to damages that the guest swears she didn't cause, the accusation triggers Dawn's insecurities and raises her defenses. She goes on the attack, posting a negative review of Miranda and the property on In return, Miranda pressures Dawn to retract her words. Miranda needs good reviews to keep the rental occupied, and she needs it occupied so she can continue secretly to funnel money to her son, a drug addict who swears he's clean but whose father has refused to support him anymore.

Switching between Dawn and Miranda's perspectives, Brown gradually reveals elements of their personal histories that give context to the escalating battle between them. Both women are trying to keep troubled pasts under wraps, but as the dispute over the rental house gets under their skins, their self-protective images start falling apart. This Is Not Over is a suspenseful psychological drama--one that might make you think twice about that online rental for your next vacation. --Florinda Pendley Vasquez, blogger at The 3 R's: Reading, 'Riting, and Randomness

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