A sharp, sensitive, self-aware 72-year-old intimately narrates You Should Have Known, a beautifully drawn psychological literary thriller--and an accomplished first novel--by Rebecca A. Keller. Francine "Frannie" Greene is a widowed wife and grandmother. This retired nurse still grieves for her husband and for a teenage granddaughter whom a drunk driver killed years before. The girl's shattering death deeply affected the family--and reshaped their lives.
After she sustains a few falls, Frannie's adult children convince her to move into a high-end assisted living facility. Frannie is pleasantly surprised by her new living arrangement. She sparks an instant friendship with a woman in the library, Katherine, discovering they share affinities for books, pie and soap operas. Frannie, however, later learns that Katherine's husband, Nathaniel, is the "reprehensible" judge who accepted a bribe and let her granddaughter's killer avoid serving prison time. Frannie secretly plots revenge on the judge, but her actions go awry. When another resident dies suddenly and an investigation ensues, implicating others in the sudden death, Frannie is forced to face her own evils. Can she stand by and watch another injustice play out?
Frannie's wise, introspective narrative voice heightens the suspense in this complex thriller. Her anger and resentments, contrasted against flaring bouts of conscience and self-questioning, make for an immensely thought-provoking psychological portrait that explores themes of what is right and what is just. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines