Publisher: Penguin Random House Publication: 9th August 2018
Review: 12th January 2019
Could your dream home be your worst nightmare?
After what happened in London, Kirsty needs a fresh start with her family. And running a guesthouse in the Welsh mountains sounds idyllic.
But then their first guest arrives. Selena is the last person Kirsty wants to see. It’s seventeen years since she tore everything apart.
Why has she chosen now to walk back into Kirsty’s life? Is Selena running from something too? Or is there an even darker reason for her visit?
Because Kirsty knows that once you invite trouble into your home, it can be murder getting rid of it…
This chilling first-person narrative had me hooked right from the start. The novel starts with the discovery of a body then the book is split into ‘Part One: Before’ and ‘Part Two: After’. This cleverly structured plot keeps you guessing as to who has been murdered right until the end of part one, which is about half way through the story.
The story is told from the perspective of Kirsty (the protagonist), and this point of view is consistent throughout, where lives of the other characters come to life through what Kirsty knows about them. This meant when the twists and shocks came to Kirsty, they were a shock to me as a reader too. The language is colloquial and made the story real. It was an easy read but don’t mix that with a simple story. It was easy to read because the language was so compelling and the focussed first-person narrative sucked me into Kirsty’s world. I managed to read the first few chapters on a chapter by chapter basis, but it wasn’t long before everything went on hold and I just had to finish the book.
The narrative has an abundance of twists and turns that are so believable they make you think it could happen to anybody living anywhere. Just one small wrong turn here and another there. The story’s setting, and what happened in the guest house previously, adds to the creepy atmosphere. I started off thinking how lovely it would be to live in such an idyllic place, but it wasn’t long before I was willing Kirsty to pack her bags and whisk her family right out of the spooky place. But Kirsty is made of much sterner stuff than I am!
I was starting to get a bit fed up with psychological thrillers and how they were becoming more and more obscure. I like books that have an element of realism: ordinary everyday characters who make ordinary everyday mistakes, but those ordinary mistakes become twisted into something much more sinister. Claire Douglas has managed to execute this to perfection, and this resulted in a very enjoyable read.
I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to read more from this author. As well as this, as a new writer myself, the writing inspired me, and reading this book taught me a valuable lesson in taking my writing to a new level. In this case, it was the story’s clear focus on the protagonist herself, as well as how twists and turns can still have a dramatic impact without being ridiculous.
Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for an Advance Review Copy of this book.