Careful What You Wish For

by Hallie Ephron, ISBN 978-0-06-247365-3

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Emily Harlow is a professional organizer who helps people declutter their lives; she’s married to man who can’t drive past a yard sale without stopping. He’s filled their basement, attic, and garage with his finds.

Sometimes she finds herself wondering: Does he spark joy?

PREVIEWS

Read Chapter 1
Read Chapter 2
Read Chapter 3

STARRED review in Publisher’s Weekly

“This outstanding standalone from bestseller Ephron may be the first domestic thriller to weave in Marie Kondo’s decluttering theory about discarding things that don’t spark joy. … Appealing characters and some suspenseful detective work help elevate this in-depth look at people’s emotional attachment to things. After being a finalist five times, Ephron may finally win the Mary Higgins Clark Award for this one.” – Publisher’s Weekly


File:Time Magazine logo.svgJamie Lee Curtis reviews CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR for TIME Magazine. She calls it “thrilling and suspenseful”!

“Ephron’s dank and musty storage units offer perfect settings for the piecing together of the puzzle, one made of human pieces in various sinister shapes and sizes. Ephron, sister to writers Delia and Amy and the late Nora, deftly builds these tensions, and offers readers the pleasure of unraveling the mystery in a way they will relish. I laughed more than I expected to, related to quotidian elements like overpacked closets, and let myself be carried along on this nightmare of a trip. I anticipated bad guys where there weren’t any, and thought I’d figured it out when I hadn’t.”


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ONE OF AUGUST’S TEN BEST BOOKS

Careful What You Wish For

“When a professional organizer comes across what seems to be stolen property and then discovers a dead body, the mess is more than she bargained for. It definitely does not spark joy. In this thoroughly enjoyable twist on the classic murder mystery, her organizing skills help solve the puzzle.” — Christian Science Monitor


 

NEW BOOK TO ADD TO YOUR BEACH READS
“Perfect for people who love both Marie Kondo and edge-of-your-seat thriller” – The Cheat Sheet


“With Careful What You Wish For, Hallie Ephron has crafted a slow-burning, claustrophobic tale that taps into the zeitgeist of the (inter)national cleaning frenzy. It’s good, old fashioned storytelling at its best—with a modern bent that should appeal to a diverse readership. Turns out that organizing a sock drawer is a lot simpler than decluttering the contents of our human hearts and minds. That process may be messy, or even murderous—but this book’s a real keeper!” Criminal Element, John B. Valeri


“In Hallie Ephron’s new mystery, trouble comes out of the closet. [Her] tantalizing mystery doesn’t begin with the clichéd corpse, it starts with socks.  Yes, socks.  Specifically, organizing them as a panacea.  That’s something Freud wasn’t thinking about when he wrote Civilization and its Discontents.  But maybe he should have.” — Lev Raphael, Writing Across Genres


“Ephron’s tidy approach to stowing clues, arousing suspicions, keeping the chaos of the climax under control, then tying up loose ends makes her a professional organizer of this type of entertainment. In a word—neat.”

— KirkusReviews


“A masterclass in airtight plotting, obsessive characters, and sleight-of-hand twists and turns; a hold-your-breath winner.” — James Ziskin, author of the award-winning Ellie Stone mysteries

“A timely, twisty tale that had me grinning at the opening line and wide-eyed at the conclusion. Cleverly plotted and cast with compelling characters, the perfect summer book club pick!” — Wendy Corsi StaubNYTimes bestselling author

“A cautionary tale for the spark joy moment—a tidy nightmare of a story that won’t be contained. A compulsive page-turner. — Lori Rader-Day, Edgar® Award-nominated author of Under a Dark Sky

If Alfred Hitchcock guest-edited Martha Stewart Living,
the result might look something like Hallie Ephron’s latest novel,
Careful What You Wish For.” – BOLO Books Review

“All I could say was “wow,” “omg,” “no way,” and a few others to express my thoughts as the pieces of the puzzle came together. Talk about a plot twist. Even a subway stop didn’t deter me as I had to see this to the finish.” — Dru Ann Love (Dru’s Book Musing)


Hallie writes “On finding my way to crime fiction…” on MYSTERY FANFARE

“When I’m asked what books inspired me to write mystery novels, sometimes I go on about how much I loved the Nancy Drew novels. I talk about graduating to the complete works of Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, and P.D. James. But those authors’ works inspired me to binge read mysteries, not to write them. Instead, I found my way by first trying and failing to write true crime.” More


Radio interview with Mat Schaffer on Boston Sunday Review

Podcast with Hank Garner on Author Stories

Radio interview with Mat Schafer on Boston Sunday Review

Podcast with Nancie Clare on SPEAKING OF MYSTERIES


If Alfred Hitchcock guest-edited Martha Stewart Living, the result might look something like Hallie Ephron’s latest novel,
Careful What You Wish For.” – BOLO Books Review

“All I could say was “wow,” “omg,” “no way,” and a few others to express my thoughts as the pieces of the puzzle came together. Talk about a plot twist. Even a subway stop didn’t deter me as I had to see this to the finish.” — Dru Ann Love (Dru’s Book Musing)


About the book:
After a video of her organizing her sock drawer goes viral, Emily Harlow uses her moment in the spotlight to start Freeze-Frame Clutter Kickers and launch her career as a professional organizer. The catch: she’s married to a man who can’t drive past a yard sale without stopping.

Like other professionals who make a living decluttering people’s lives, Emily has devised a set of ironclad rules. When working with couples, for example, she makes it clear that each person is only allowed to declutter his or her own stuff. This stipulation has kept Emily’s own marriage together these past few years as her basement, attic, and garage have filled up with her husband’s finds. She’d love nothing more than to toss out all his crap. He says he’s a collector. Emily knows better—he’s a hoarder. And the larger his “collection” becomes, the deeper the distance grows between Emily and the man she married.

Luckily, Emily’s got two new clients to distract herself: an elderly widow whose husband left behind a storage unit that she didn’t know existed, and a young wife whose husband won’t allow her stuff into their house. But when Emily’s initial meeting with the young wife takes a detour involving too much wine and fantasies of how much more pleasant life would be without their collecting spouses, Emily finds herself in a mess that might be too big for her
to clean up.