A lot of reviewers have drawn parallels between this debut and Gone Girl which is annoying – if you didn’t particularly enjoy that novel you might overlook this one and it would be a shame.
Of course there are similarities – we have a female narrator who we mistrust from the off; there are secrets aplenty; lots of characters give us reason to mistrust them/their motives and there are some great twists. However, there is something different about this – though we don’t get to see this until the author chooses to reveal it to us.
The jumps from past to present and the switching focus from character to character meant that it was very difficult to predict just where this was going. I enjoyed trying to spot plausible lies and to predict just which details were designed to throw us off the scent. Some elements of this were quite clear to see, but as a whole we only had our suspicions confirmed fully at the close of the novel.
With a character who spends most of the novel in a coma we had a distorted view of what was happening. It was genuinely creepy to overhear some of the conversations taking place in Amber’s room, but I could never quite trust myself to fully believe everything she was telling us. Eventually I reconciled myself to having to place my trust in someone who did not seem to merit it.
Deliberately we are led to dislike Amber’s husband, Paul, and though he doesn’t come out of it particularly well he is much higher up the chart than the vile character of Edward. From our first encounter with him there is something off-kilter about him. Little details that are given further support our mistrust of him. However, the details surrounding him and his role in Amber’s life did – if I’m being honest – feel rather gratuitous, and didn’t necessarily add much to the story.
Some elements aside, this was a well-plotted thriller. I feel the elements of the past that were brought in really meant this was operating on a whole new level. I was rather surprised at some of the revelations, and the ending was something of a shock.
All in all, a great read.