Title: The Date
Author: Louise Jensen
Date of Publication: 21st June 2018
Date of Review: 6th May 2018
One night can change everything. ‘I know it as soon as I wake up and open my eyes… Something is wrong.’
Her Saturday night started normally. Recently separated from her husband, Ali has been persuaded by her friends to go on a date with a new man. She is ready, she is nervous, she is excited. She is about to take a step into her new future. By Sunday morning, Ali’s life is unrecognisable. She wakes, and she knows that something is wrong. She is home, she is alone, she is hurt and she has no memory of what happened to her. Worse still, when she looks in the mirror, Ali doesn’t recognise the face staring back at her. She can’t recognise her friends and family. And she can’t recognise the person who is trying to destroy her
The Queen of Domestic Noir smashes it yet again!
OMG WOW just where do I start! I’ve been looking forward to reading this book so much the anticipation has made me feel like a child in the run up to Christmas! With all three previous novels by this author taking pride of place on my ‘All-time Favourites Shelf’, The Date by Louise Jensen had a hard act to follow. Was writing yet another book of such high acclaim even possible?
I’ve a lot to say about this book so won’t go into detail and repeat the synopsis. Suffice to say the level of clinical research the author has gone to for this unique premise really is quite staggering.
As well as being rich in original analogy, what makes this compelling narrative so utterly creepy and intensely real is the way Louise Jensen combines succinct language with dual first-person narration. From the outset the reader is thrust into Ali’s world: ‘Something isn’t right.’ […] ‘There’s a sour smell in the room’ […] ‘Goosebumps spring up on my arms.’ This stripped back narrative allows the reader to make up their own mind and use their imagination, allowing them to become part of the story. Combined with the first-person narration from Ali’s perspective, this brings the reader in so close it makes them feel they actually are Ali. Then just as you start to think the way Ali does, willing her to take a course of action – BANG: the deranged antagonist takes over; throwing everything you thought was going on out of the window.
This is all done whilst keeping secret both the antagonist’s identity, as well as the protagonist’s past demons. We know the protagonist is hiding something from her past, but with backstory being drip-fed throughout the narrative strands, alongside shocking twists and red herrings, you won’t be able to turn those pages fast enough.
But the final twist will absolutely knock you out. If the final word isn’t enough, it’s the absolute final piece of punctuation. Who knew one little punctuation mark could have such an effect?
Louise Jensen stands out as a canonical icon in twenty-first century literature. With psychological thrillers flooding the market, Louise manages to combine original and complex plotlines, alongside a well-written narrative, and in a way that appeals to readers from all walks of life. Louise Jensen has been compared to Paula Hawkins (Girl on the Train) and S J Watson (Before I go To Sleep); but to be honest this author is in a class all of her own. Domestic noir is so much more than an ordinary psychological thriller and Louise Jensen absolutely smashes this.
Under Literature Love’s rating scheme this book has been awarded 5 out of 5 stars.
(If I could, I would give it 6 out of 5 stars!) I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down. I recommend you stop what you’re doing and go and buy this book now! As well as having all the elements of a four-star review, this book transcends its genre. The language is original and compelling; characters jumped off the page; and twists in the plot left me gasping. This rare and exceptional book will be put forward for Literature Love’s top 10 books of the year.
Thank you to Louise Jensen, Bookouture, and Netgalley for this ARC copy in return for an honest and unbiased review.