This novel is so dark and disturbing and insidiously chilling, I had to quit reading it at bedtime because it was giving me nightmares, and as much as I was enjoying reading it in the day, I had to steel myself to pick it up and read the next chapter, because I knew it would unnerve me.
The narrative is brilliantly crafted to sustain suspense throughout. There were so many twists and turns I felt I had whiplash at times – I couldn’t work out whom to believe and whom to root for.
The dual perspective works very well, allowing us to see the story from Alison’s point of view and from Kitty’s. Kitty’s story made for very difficult reading. I swung between feeling sorry for her (she has brain damage and can’t speak, but is far more lucid than any of her carers know) and disliking her – and then feeling guilty for disliking her. Honestly, at times this book made an emotional wreck of me!
There’s a sense of suffocation in the novel, of being trapped: Kitty is trapped in her body, and in the care home; Alison is trapped in her dreary life in which the only colour is in the stained glass with which she self-harms; the prisoners – and their new art teacher – are trapped in the prison, which may be classed ‘open’ but is stifling and claustrophobic. This suffocation heightens the tension in the book – which builds and builds to an ending that, while providing resolution, does not quite allow the reader to breathe (or sleep) easily.
Usually, while I’m reading a book I’m already assessing it, deciding what I think of it, writing the review in my head – I’m half-reading, half-considering. With this book, though, I was too absorbed by the story and characters and mood; I was lost in feeling uneasy and very concerned about Kitty and Alison and what each had done in the past and would do next. It was only once I finished the book, took a breather and looked at it as a whole that I could piece together how I felt about it. That alone speaks volumes: I drowned in this book – surely the marker of a good psychological thriller.
* My rating: Four stars *
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Jane Corry
Three little girls set off to school one sunny May morning. Within an hour, one of them is dead.
Fifteen years later, Alison and Kitty are living separate lives. Kitty lives in a care home. She can’t speak, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here, or her life before it.
Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it – this is her chance to finally make things right.
But someone is watching Kitty and Alison. Someone who wants revenge for what happened that day. And only another life will do…
Publication date: 29 June 2017
Length: 464 pages
Available from: Amazon