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I listened to this audiobook, narrated by Philip Stevens, over the course of two weeks. The story is mainly narrated by Ed Collier, with chapters also told in the third person but showing the point of view of other characters.

When Ed and his wife Claire meet their daughter Abby’s boyfriend Ryan for the first time, Ed instantly distrusts him. He is shocked when Abby and Ryan announce that they are going to get married in just over a month, and he instantly determines to find out more about this stranger who has entered their lives, and get his daughter to at least postpone the wedding.

The bulk of the book mainly follows Ed’s investigations, with the last part being the culmination and consequences of what Ed does or doesn’t discover.

I liked the premise of the book, but unfortunately did not find that it lived up to its promise. Whether or not Ed was right about his suspicions (I’m not saying), his instant and extreme reaction seemed unbelievable. Based on literally nothing more than an uneasy feeling, Ed starts following Ryan and using underhand methods to discover more about him, even paying thousands to a private investigator.

The characters – even Ed, who narrates large parts of the book – never really seemed fleshed out or ‘real’ and it was hard to invest in any of them. Abby and Claire were bland, Ed was obsessive and Ryan was a cardboard cut out.

It’s a real shame because there was potential for a great story here. Still, lots of other reviewers online seem to have enjoyed it, so if this a genre you enjoy, you may want to give it a go.

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Holly Krauss is beautiful and vivacious.  She has a happy marriage and runs a successful company with her friend Meg. It seems that Holly has it all.  But there is another side to her – a side that sees her putting herself into danger, and being reckless and thoughtless.  Her actions cause problems which just keep mounting and Holly suddenly finds herself in danger.  But she finds that she cannot trust her own judgement any longer, and even those she is closest to seem to be losing patience with her.  If Holly can’t rely on herself, then who can she rely on to catch her when she falls? And just because she is paranoid, does that mean that nobody is really after her?

I have always liked Nicci French’s novels, and this one, like the others, is an entertaining read, which had me wanting to “just read a few more pages” and then just a few more…

Holly is an interesting if not altogether likeable character.  While I sympathised with her and could see how people might be drawn to such a person, I also found myself becoming increasingly exasperated with her actions – particularly when she seemed to be ignorant of the obvious consequences which were bound to result.  However, I think that that was probably deliberate on the writers’ part.

Through Holly’s narrative, we see her world through her eyes, and how things start to fall apart for her.  Her loyal friend Meg tries to help and it seems that only she and Charlie – Holly’s husband – can pick up the pieces.  It is not clear at first whether Holly’s increasing paranoia is due to her own state of mind, and like Holly, the reader is not sure who to trust.

This is an undemanding read, despite the subject matter.  The action moves along at a rapid pace and did keep me wanting to know what was going to happen.  However, I was disappointed by the ending, which seemed to deliver almost as many questions as answers.  I actually wondered if there were another couple of pages at the back which I had missed.

All in all though, this is an entertaining psychological thriller, and I would recommend it to fans of the genre.  Not the author’s best book (I thought Beneath the Skin and Killing Me Softly were both much better), but still definitely worth reading.

(Author’s website can be found here.)

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