My Rating: 4 stars Read: 3/25/2017
Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband was sent to jail and she started over with a new life. Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When her ex-husband is finally released, Lindsey believes she’s cut all ties. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But can he really change? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?
This domestic thriller about an abusive husband is an interesting but fairly long read. The novel has several times lines and POVs which add interest.
The story is told out of order with flashbacks to the past to follow the development of Lindsey and Andrew’s relationship, from happy newlyweds to the years of abuse and finally to Lindsey’s desperate night flight from the marriage with young Sophie.
These flashback sections are interposed with the story being told in the present (2017), when Andrew has been released from jail and shows up where Lindsey and Sophie now live, on an island near Vancouver. In this present-day section, the POV moves from Sophie, now a teen who wants to know her father and thinks her mom is paranoid and/or exaggering about how bad he was, and Lindsey, who is terrified that Andrew still wants to kill her.
A series of threatening events begin to happen around Lindsey which she is convinced are caused by Andrew, but she can’t prove it to the police or Sophie. But is it really Andrew? Or has he sincerely changed? The reader becomes less sure about who is doing what as the story progresses.
There are some twists and turns and red herrings. I guessed who was behind everything at about 70%, but the ending was still fairly satisfying.
I found the writing unremarkable. There was no attempt at being poetic or literary in its descriptions of setting or tone, and the dialog was very basic. I’ve read some really amazing writing lately, such as Andrew Pryer’s “The Only Child”, so by comparison this style felt flat. However, the writing didn’t detract from the story and it never felt “off”. The motivations, words, and actions of the characters felt on target, even in those of the teenaged girl, Sophie.
But, of course, in a thriller, the main thing is the plotline. I thought the portrait of the marriage was quite good and subtly terrifying. Andrew was less a physically abusive husband (though that happened a few times) than a controlling and threatening one. He did not want his wife, Lindsey, to have other friends, a job or money outside what he provided, and he watched her constantly. He drank and could fly into jealous rages. The parts of the novel that were flashbacks to their relationship were quite disturbing and, unfortunately, realistic.
If I have one complaint about the book it’s that it felt quite long. There was a period in the book, from about 50% to 80%, after a certain character is removed, and before the final climax began, that really dragged for me and felt redundant. It slowed the “thriller pacing” quite a lot and became more of a slog than a page-turner. It’s too bad that hadn’t been tightened up as it might have been a 5 star read otherwise. But then the ending picked back up again and I enjoyed the rest of the book.
Overall this is a good solid read if you like domestic thrillers.
Thanks to Netgalley for providing an ARC for review.