My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Now, this is Britain's answer to Gone Girl. A fantastic woman-centric thriller with twist after twist. In my opinion, it's a lot better than Girl on the Train. And very different to Gone Girl. So, although it may appeal to readers of those books, be aware that this is something slightly else...
Louise is a single-mum, living in London. Despondent after her divorce, she meets someone in a bar and they feel a certain 'something.' All it is is a kiss. But to Louise, this is major. Her 'man-from-the-bar' has added to her life, the thing that was missing: lust, and excitement.
So, trust her stupid luck that this man turns out to be her new boss at the private psychiatric clinic she works as receptionist. Dismayed, she hides from him on his first day, but realises this can't continue. And it turns out that David is married! Repulsed by the idea, Louise is determined to put him to the back of her mind. But things don't work out quite as planned.
Shortly after, she meets Adele - David's husband. Alarm bells ring. How can she be friends with someone who she's lusting after? But Adele seems so lonely, and so effusive in her offer of friendship
It starts with pretty innocent flirting, but quickly he ends up in her bed. Disgusted by herself, what can Louise do with the mess she's got herself into? How can she be sleeping with her friend's husband? And there seems to be a sinister side to David: not only does he appear to be drunk so often, but Adele is afraid of him. Never said aloud, but Louise isn't stupid. Not being allowed your own credit card? Having to make timed phone calls twice a day to check on her? Something isn't right in this marriage.
When her son Adam goes away with his father for a month, Louise is determined to get to the bottom of this. What hold has David got on Adele? Why has he prescribed her so much medication? And at the same time, she finds a revelation of her own; Adele seems to have a solution to her night terrors. But even that is strange. An old notebook written by a teenager, in a book apparently gifted to Adele by David? Nothing adds up. Louise needs to know.
And she's got in far too deep to get out now.
This is a fast, pacy compelling read. Pinborough really knows how to make you keep turning the pages; the twists come thick and fast. It is partly told from Adele's point of view, and partly from Louise's, with occasional flash backs to Adele's time spent at a rehabilitation centre in Scotland after the death by fire of her parents. In this way, the reader feels as though they have reliable narrators. But, still nothing adds up. It's infuriating! - which makes you keep reading.
It's hard to sing the real praises of this book without giving away the final twist. Each time you get to the 'end,' you think you have it worked out. But, the punches keep flying and it's only in the crucial last chapter that you know the whole truth. I won't say anything more than that, you'll have to find out for yourself. But it's a shock to the system. I was mulling over this book for ages, flicking back to see any clues that had been left. It's definitely something that could be read twice.
The one criticism I have of it, is that some of the language is just too melodramatic. To give an example: '... I still felt stabbed in the guts with a shard of my own broken heart.' Thrillers are, by their very nature, dramatic - but this is too much, I almost laughed! With a few edits like this out, this may even have been given a five star review.
Overall - excellent: go out and get a copy!
Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this brilliant book.
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