A (very) brief plot overview
When Charlotte finds an unconscious and badly injured stranger named Luke in an alleyway, her pressing need to help and people please goes into overdrive. Accepted as a hero by Luke’s parents, Charlotte sticks around and does all she can to support everyone except Luke’s sister Rebecca, who clearly doesn’t trust Charlotte at all. But funnily enough, Charlotte doesn’t exactly trust her, either…
What’s good about it?
This book is a really, really juicy read. Not only is the storyline gripping, but it has short chapters which keep it feeling pacey. As it is told from the perspectives of both Charlotte and Rebecca, your allegiances flip and change until it reaches a point that you know who you trust and are on the edge of your seat hoping it all works out well for the person you believe. Both of them are unreliable narrators, with Charlotte seeming obsessive and Rebecca seeming cold and calculating, so you never quite know which one to side with until the very end. It is one of the best thrillers I have read in a while in terms of getting your blood pumping and keeping that level of intrigue from start to end.
I love that the intrigue is not just based around how Luke ended up injured but also about Luke and Rebecca’s secret, Charlotte’s past, Rebecca’s relationship with her parents, Rebecca’s relationship with her dodgy partner… there are so many layers to this story and so many subplots that keep you on your toes. Jessica Vallance has created a detailed web of a storyline in this novel, one that works as a thriller and keeps you on high alert constantly.
All of the characters in the book are written to be realistic, especially Luke’s parents. Their reactions to their son’s injuries are so believable and you can fully understand why they would cling to Charlotte and expect more of Rebecca considering the circumstance. I felt like his parent’s could be friend’s of my own parents or people I worked with. For me, thrillers work best when everything around the toxic part of the story is hyper realistic as it makes the dark side of the plot seem even more sinister, and Jessica Vallance balanced these two sides of her story perfectly.
The ending of this book is brilliant. I can’t say too much because I don’t want to spoilt it, but it really is a close the book and say ‘wow’ ending. I got a similar feeling reading this as I did when I got halfway through Gone Girl and realised that Amy was alive (sorry for anyone wanting to read Gone Girl!). It’s not easy to get that reaction from a reader, so for me Jessica Vallance has done a brilliant job with this book!
What’s not so good?
In the ‘twist’, I felt like some of the dialogue got a little bit too ‘manic’ and overused laughter to show one character as unhinged. It’s just a small niggle, but personally I find thrillers tend to use laughter so much that it almost becomes like imagining a pantomime villain or a fake Dracula laugh. For me it would have been creepier if the character had been straight faced during the reveal. In this particular book it would have suited the character more to be wholly secure in what they had done and sound as if they believed in their choices rather than them being portrayed to suddenly be wildly gleeful and all over the place.
Rate me: 10/10. This. Book. Was. Sooooooo. Good!!!