Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Noah's Story: A Close Enough to Kill Series Novella is a psychological thriller written by Jacqueline Simon Gunn. While Gunn’s other books in this series show Noah Donovan from the perspective of his long-time friend and fiancee, Yvonne, and his girlfriend, Kadee, Noah’s Story explores the relationship of Noah and his controlling mother, Belle Donovan. Once upon a time, Noah had a mother and a father. His doctor father worked long hours and the mother and son were often at home together. Their relationship was a close one, too close for the young boy who was alternately thrilled, confused and ashamed by the physical responses his mother’s closeness and inappropriate nudity roused in him. Noah’s father died, he was told, of a heart attack, but things his mother hinted at and later said made him wonder if he were not to blame for his father’s death. Even now with Noah at the age of forty and having achieved the status of a respected Manhattan physician, his mother was still controlling his life. She sought to determine who he would date and was vicious about his own choices of companions. Belle lived through him and would never let him forget that Mother was watching everything he did. Noah was not a good man, and he did some things that were very hurtful to Kadee and Yvonne, but his mind had been warped by a lifetime of abuse.
Jacqueline Simon Gunn’s psychological thriller, Noah's Story: A Close Enough to Kill Series Novella, is a troubling and thought-provoking addition to her series, which gives the reader the perspective of Noah Donovan, whose abusive treatment of Kadee and infidelity to Yvonne is covered so brilliantly in her other books. I was fascinated by Gunn’s Close Enough to Kill novels and wondered how Gunn could cast Noah in a sympathetic light, but she manages to do just that in Noah’s Story, and she does it brilliantly. Belle Donovan assumes truly terrifying status in this novella, which shows just how abusive and controlling a person she is, and, yes, I found myself understanding why and how Noah became the warped abuser he was in the series. Noah’s Story can be read on its own, but I would strongly recommend reading the other books in this series. Gunn’s own experience as a practicing clinical psychologist and author gives such credibility and authenticity to her stories, and her familiarity with Manhattan brings the Upper East Side setting to life quite well. Noah's Story: A Close Enough to Kill Series Novella is most highly recommended.