This thriller was heavily promoted by Waterstones a few months ago. A bookseller tried to persuade me to buy it. I decided not to. Just as well, because after an excellent beginning, I lost interest in the story and found it to be ultimately disappointing. I borrowed the e-book from the library and didn’t take long to read and return it, mainly because I skim-read the last third.
The concept of this novel ensured that I was hooked at first. Fi, a well-heeled middle class woman in suburban London, arrives home to find another couple moving into her lovely house. She’s separated from her adulterous husband, Bram. It looks like he’s behind the house sale, but why and how? Where is he now and how did their relationship descend to this?
There are definitely some good things about the book. The structure is interesting because it includes a crime podcast (complete with social media comments) and a suicide note as a Word document, in addition to present time narration. We hear both Fi’s and Bram’s version of events. The details seem to be realistic and well-researched.
Several aspects bothered me. Maybe I’m younger than the target audience, but I found the subjects of home ownership, driving offences and fraud to be, frankly, boring. These subjects are essential themes of the story. I also didn’t warm to the characters. They didn’t seem like individuals to me, more like ‘types’. I know the author is to some extent parodying the rich suburban folk but again, this was dull. There were no decent male characters in this book, either. I find this is a flaw in most domestic/psychological thrillers. By decent, I mean characters who help the (female) protagonist and are not actually cheats, murderers, abusers etc. At times I didn’t like the writing and occasionally it didn’t make sense to me. In my opinion, there was also a distasteful flavour to the book generally. I’m sure I grimaced and said ‘ew’ at a few points, although luckily I can’t remember what they were, now.
In summary, this is a thumbs down from me and I’m not eager to read any more from this author.
This book was published in 2018 by Simon & Schuster.