At first glance, Alison has a simple life. She works in a library and returns to her tranquil flat. But something is very wrong. Alison believes that her husband, Jack, is stalking her, leaving messages in her flat and tracking her down at the library. What did he do and why did he leave? And who is the woman who keeps talking to Alison in the cafeteria? Where does Alison remember her from, and how is she involved with Jack?
I have followed Nikki’s journey to publication with interest, and have heard a lot about this book, but happily not enough to have anticipated the ending.
It’s everything you want from a psychological thriller: it’s cleverly plotted, engaging and creates tension and an atmosphere of foreboding right from the outset. What’s more, it has an incredible twist that pulls the rug from under your feet and sends the story hurtling in a new direction, towards a satisfying and heart-warming conclusion. Like all the best twists, the clues are there on reflection, but the answer is well-hidden until the big reveal. I’m willing to bet not many readers will see it coming.
Nikki demonstrates her mastery of both characterisation and plotting in her debut. She weaves the story together from Jack’s perspective as well as Alison’s, and both characters are well-rounded and sympathetic but also compelling and complex.
It’s difficult to maintain so much mystery whilst giving the reader enough to keep track of what’s going on, but Nikki’s handling of the narrative makes it look easy and keeps the pages turning.
Don’t miss this incredible book – and keep an eye out for Nikki Smith in future!
With thanks to Nikki Smith, publishers Orion and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.