My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What this book is about:
When Vivien, mother of 8-year-old Lexi and wife of a rich businessman, Ben, is found dead in her bathroom, the investigators are not sure whether it was a suicide or a murder. Rose is devastated by the tragic death of her daughter but she is trying to keep it together for the sake of her granddaughter while Vivien’s life is decomposed right before her eyes and dark secrets are slowly revealed. Vivien didn’t have the perfect life that everybody thought after all.
This is my first mystery/thriller book of the year. Written in a first person perspective, we follow Rose, Vivien’s mother and grandmother of Lexi. Three important characters in this book, other than the ones just mentioned, are Ben who is Lexi’s father, Isaac who’s the family’s driver, Cleo who is an old friend of Vivien and DS Cole, one of the police investigators. Throughout the book, there are a few small parts in which we read through Vivien’s eyes. This offers some insight into the situation and gets the plot moving and unravelling for the reader.
After years of practice, I am able to split myself in two: the part of me that acts spliced clean apart from the part that feels. In this way, I stay quite calm while I inflict pain.
The book starts with an extremely vague prologue in which we have no idea who is narrating and what the heck just happened. This is something that we figure out at the very end of the story and something that I personally thought was pretty cool. Luana Lewis being a clinical psychologist, does a great job describing symptoms of depersonalisation which is when a person feels detached from their body as if watching things happening to them from the outside. My theories and questions about the truth started from early on. Ideally for me, when reading a good mystery book, I want to be constantly on edge, asking who, what, how, when. This was not an extremely great thriller, in my opinion, though. The plot was kind of slow in the beginning and the whole emotion of the story was too mild. I didn’t feel on edge, thriller, excited, turning pages maniacally to find out the truth. I was curious to see what happened and how things will turn out but not to the degree that kept me at the edge of my seat.
DS Cole is doing everything she can to avoid using the word murder, but still, I hear it loud and clear. I see it, written on these grubby, windowless walls in capital letters.
One of the problems with this book is that even though it’s quite well-written and meticulously paced and narrated, when you reach the end you miss the whole genius of it. In an amazing psychological thriller I would personally like to reach the ending and sit down, mind-blown, admiring the brilliance of the story and the way it all led to the enthralling conclusion. Going back and reviewing my notes, I do see the ingenuity of the plot, but was I to never write a review, I would just forget about the story-crafting and focus on my overall feel of it.
How bizarre it is, to know my daughter will never age.
Another part of a mystery novel that is one of the most necessary and important ingredients to build the shock factor at the last page’s revelations, are the characters. Again, for me, I would like to see around ten main and secondary characters that I get to “know” so at the end I can be like: “Nooo, it’s impossible that X did this. Oh my God, I thought it was Y all along but it turns out that he was actually the good guy!” You know what I mean? So, my complaints about this book is that there were not many characters and I didn’t get the feeling that we got to know them as much as I would have liked.
He takes another drink, looking into the bottom of that whiskey glass as though he might find salvation there. He leaves my side to pour himself another, and once again he’s generous with the Special Reserve. In all the years I’ve known him, I’ve never seen him drink more than a couple of glasses of wine. I don’t like the way he’s drinking, but I’m not about to antagonise him by suggesting he stop.
I tried to be as vague and general as possible since this is a psychological mystery and it’s very easy to spoil people by going further than the first 10 pages. Overall, this was a well-written, psychological thriller with a few twists and turns that makes the reader come up with hypotheses and staying with the plot to find out more clues on what happened. The ending is very clear and straightforward, so if you want to have closure in your mystery novels, you will be satisfied with this one. I’ve never read from a grandmother perspective before and this is certainly not a typical grandmother character for me but it was quite enjoyable and to conclude, I liked this book. I recommend it to all people who like mystery books but, as I already mentioned, I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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