Review: I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney
I Know Who You Are
by Alice Feeney

As a huge fan of Feeney’s first book I was ridiculously excited about I Know Who You Are but while there’s a lot to like about it I’m afraid it didn’t quite live up to my admittedly too high expectations. There are some great twists and some gripping moments however the final reveal was a step too far for me.


l Know Who You Are is the brilliant tale of two stories. One is about Aimee Sinclair—well-known actress on the verge of being full-on famous. If you saw her, you’d think you knew her. One day towards the near-end of her shoot on her latest film, Aimee comes home from filming to find her husband’s cell phone and wallet on the dining room table. He never goes anywhere without them. But he’s nowhere to be found. She’s not too concerned—they had a huge fight the night before. They both said things they didn’t mean. He might have done things he didn’t mean, things she can’t forget. Even though she has a history of supposedly forgetting. After all, she’s a very good actress.

The next morning she goes for her morning run and then goes to her favorite coffee shop. But her card is denied. When she calls the bank they say her account has been emptied of $10,000. She immediately suspects her husband. But they say no, it was Aimee herself who closed out the account. And thus begins a bizarre rabbit hole into which Aimee finds herself falling where nothing is at it seems.

Alternating with Aimee’s story is that of a little girl who wandered away from home. We always tell our kids not to talk to strangers or bad things will happen. Well, bad things happen.

In I Know Who You Are, Alice Feeney proves that she is a master at brilliantly complicated plots and twists after twists.


As someone who absolutely loved Alice Feeney’s first book Sometimes I Lie I was ridiculously excited to get the chance to read an advance copy of her latest one. I really love her writing, the complex characters she creates and the sudden twists that will literally leave your jaw on the floor. Unfortunately however, while there is a lot to love in this book I’m afraid the ending kind of ruined it. There are a lot of twisty thrillers around at the moment and I can understand the temptation to push the boundaries to make your story stand out with that big surprise ending but I’m afraid for me this pushed things a little too far, becoming unbelievable. It’s a pity, as up until that point there was a lot to like.

Main character Aimee Sinclair for example was wonderful as the unreliable narrator. As an actress on an upward trajectory she knows how to play a part, to show the world what they expect to see. When her husband suddenly vanishes without a trace it’s difficult to tell how she really feels about it (and possibly more importantly, whether or not she had anything to do with it) but it’s clear there were problems in the marriage. As other strange things start happening around Aimee it becomes increasingly difficult to work out what’s real and what’s not and, as she is constantly pretending, it’s hard to tell how she really feels. Consequently I was never too sure what to think about her. I think I liked her and was rooting for her but there were moments when I really had my doubts.

Interspersed with the Aimee in the present day is the story of a little girl in Ireland who wanders away from home to look at the pair of shoes she really wants in a shop window. She knows she’s not supposed to be out on her own and she’s not supposed to talk to strangers but she does and bad things happen.

This for me was the more gripping (and horrifying) part of the story. It’s often dark and occasionally very disturbing (there’s mental and physical abuse, and violence) but I found it difficult to stop reading it (although I may have skimmed over one particularly disturbing scene). It’s clear there’s some kind of connection between these events and the odd things happening to Aimee in the present but it’s pretty much impossible to figure out what.

The big reveal at the end however just didn’t work for me. I’ll try to keep this vague to avoid spoilers but while it was surprising it just wasn’t believable. I kind of wanted to just throw the book at the wall at that point.

Anyway, regardless of the ending it is a well written and gripping story so it hasn’t put me off Feeney as an author. I will still be looking out for whatever she writes next.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy. This in no way influenced my review.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review: The Good Son by You-jeong Jeong

The Good SonA dark and disturbing story that had me gripped from the very first page until the very last.


Yu-jin is a good son, a model student and a successful athlete. But one day he wakes up covered in blood. There’s no sign of a break-in and there’s a body downstairs. It’s the body of someone who Yu-jin knows all too well.

Yu-jin struggles to piece together the fragments of what he can remember from the night before. He suffers from regular seizures and blackouts. He knows he will be accused if he reports the body, but what to do instead? Faced with an unthinkable choice, Yu-jin makes an unthinkable decision.

Through investigating the murder, reading diaries, and looking at his own past and childhood, Yu-jin discovers what has happened. The police descend on the suburban South Korean district in which he lives. The body of a young woman is discovered. Yu-jin has to go back, right back, to remember what happened, back to the night he lost his father and brother, and even further than that.

The Good Son deals with the ultimate taboo in family life, and asks the question: how far will you go to protect your children from themselves?


My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This was such a great read and so different from what I was expecting when I accepted the publisher’s offer of a copy. Based on the reviews I skimmed through prior to picking it up, I will admit I was a little wary. There was a lot of “it’s a slow burn” and “you have to stick with it” but this was not my experience of reading it at all.

From the very first page I found myself gripped and completely immersed in this story. There may not be a huge amount of action (although I should warn it is violent and a little gruesome in places) and it’s heavy on internal monologue and flashbacks (something I usually hate) but the whole story and Yu-jin in particular absolutely fascinated me.

The central premise of “main character awakes to discover a brutally murdered body and has no memory of what happened” is not a unique one but it is one that intrigues me and this author does it so well. The story is told almost entirely from the point of view of Yu-jin and I found being in his head a very interesting experience. There is clearly something not quite right but I found myself drawn to him and wanted to know more.

The truth of what happened to his mother and the reasons behind it are uncovered very slowly over the course of the book as Yu-jin finds clues, makes deductions and recalls the events from the night before (and further into the past) while simultaneously trying to cover everything up for as long as possible. It quickly becomes clear that there was something not right in the relationship between mother and son but, while we’re given the impression that she’s overly controlling and he’s afraid of her (and his Auntie), it’s obvious that Yu-jin may not be the victim he first appears and there could be a reason he’s kept on a tight leash.

I will say I wasn’t necessarily surprised by what is revealed over the course of the story as the author leaves enough hints and clues along the way for you to figure it out but this wasn’t the main draw for me. I was much more invested in what was coming next and what would happen to Yu-jin. I wouldn’t say I liked him, and he admits himself that he’s a skilled liar so you know not to trust him, but I was intrigued by him. Despite being the classic unreliable narrator he is very convincing and I found myself empathizing with him even when I knew I shouldn’t.

There’s a very claustrophobic, dark and disturbing feel to this story and while it’s not all action all of the time there were more than a few moments which had me on the edge of my seat. It is fairly limited in terms of scope, it’s primarily set within the apartment, takes place over a short period of time and there are very few characters (or interactions between them) making it quite quiet and intense but for me this just added to the suspense and anticipation.

The ending when it comes was brilliant but I will admit I found it a little disappointing. It wasn’t bad, I think it was more that the rest of the story had built my expectations up so high that I was expecting more.

If you can’t tell by now I really loved this book and would recommend to anyone who loves a thriller that really gets into a characters head.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy. As always all views are my own.

Review: Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent


The sinister new novel from the No 1 bestselling author of Unravelling Oliver and Richard and Judy Book Club pick Lying in Wait.

‘Once I had cleared the bottles away and washed the blood off the floor, I needed to get out of the flat.’

Cordelia Russell has been living on the Côte d’Azur for ten years, posing as a posh English woman fallen on hard times. But her luck is running out. Desperate to escape her grotty flat and grim reality, Cordelia spends a night at a glittering party. Surrounded by the young, beautiful and privileged she feels her age and her poverty. As dawn breaks she stumbles home through the back streets. Even before she opens her door she can hear the flies buzzing. It hasn’t taken long for the corpse in her bedroom to commence decomposing …

Liz Nugent’s novel is the dark, twisted and shocking story of what takes Cordelia from an island childhood in Ireland to ruins in Nice.


My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I’m at a bit of a loss what to say about this book as I’m not entirely sure what I thought about it. There were moments I loved but there were probably more where I felt a bit more meh and reading it became a struggle.

It’s possible I was just too excited about it and my expectations were too high. I absolutely loved Nugent’s previous book Lying In Wait so had really high hopes for this. It turned out however to be a very different type of read than I was anticipating.

It does begin with yet another fantastic opening line and a scene that draws you right into the action and it is a brilliant character study of a not very nice character but it just didn’t grab me the way I wanted it to.

Delia, the main character, whose story we learn over the course of the novel is certainly not likeable but for me wasn’t quite horrible or twisted enough for me to care about and I’m afraid it’s the characters who make or break a book for me. I don’t have to like them, in fact often it’s the nasty ones that intrigue me the most, but there has to be something about them that I either love or hate. Delia shows so little emotion and cares about so little that I found myself reflecting that back on the story.

There were moments and certain characters which intrigued me but as the story covers some 40+ years these were fairly brief and viewed through Delia’s uncaring eye.

Her perspective makes up the majority of the story but there are a few pages here or there from a different pov which give you their thoughts and feelings. These did bring additional insights but also felt quite factual and unemotional to me so I never really connected to those characters either.

What I did love however were Delia’s recollections of the stories her Daddy told her about the island she grows up on. It’s dark and violent folklore and really adds another element to the story. The superstitious and insular nature of such a small town community really fascinated me.

The pace of this story is slow and I can’t say I found it particularly exciting but the writing is good and the characterization brilliant.

I think this was just a case of not the right book for me or possibly just not the right book for when I read it. It is memorable for main character Delia and I think if you like a dark, cold and manipulative character whose actions are often shocking you’ll love this.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own.

ARC Review: The Accident by S.D. Monaghan

The AccidentThe Accident by S.D. Monaghan

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

A gripping thriller with an brilliant hook in the beginning which instantly draws you into the story. I did feel like it dipped a little in the middle with one or two too many flashbacks which slowed down the pace of the story but there are plenty of twists, turns and cliffhangers to keep you reading till the very end.

The story follows married couple David and Tara who with a baby on the way and their dream home almost complete are about to start the next phase of their lives together. For some reason though Tara can’t resist one final fling with ex boyfriend Ryan before she settles down. When David stumbles upon them together he confronts Ryan, throwing a punch that results in a three storey fall for Ryan, setting in motion a series of events that could potentially destroy them both.

The story is told from the points of view of both David and Tara and this dual perspective makes for some really engaging reading. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I liked either character and at times their actions frustrated the hell out of me (yes I shouted at the book) but they were very believable and I found myself questioning how I would act in their situation.

There’s a really fast pace in the beginning of the book making it addictive reading but around a third of the way through it kind of loses it a bit as the story flits back in time to explain how David and Tara met and how their relationship developed. It is interesting to read and explains a lot about them but I felt like the tension which made it such a gripping read was lost. There are twists and turns and chapters end on cliffhangers to keep you reading but it bugged the hell out of me that these cliffhangers would be followed by a jump to another time or place.

I won’t say much about the story for fear of spoilers but while there were bits I guessed there were certainly a few twists I didn’t see coming and the ending, while possibly a little sudden, was for the most part satisfying (am I being suitably vague?).

Overall therefore, it’s a pretty good read and while it suffers from some pacing issues I’d still recommend to anyone who likes a good thriller. I will definitely be looking out for other books from this author.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own.

Review: Yesterday by Felicia Yap

YesterdayYesterday by Felicia Yap

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Despite having very high hopes for this book I have to confess that I very nearly gave up on it on more than one occasion. I am happy that I continued on with it to the end but I must admit that I found it really hard going.

The premise of this story sounds so good, how do you solve a crime if you can’t remember anything other than the last 24 hours, but for me it was this central premise that just didn’t work. I absolutely love stories about amnesia and memory loss and some of my all time favourite reads feature this plot device. I’m fascinated by the question of how much of who you are is determined by your memories and experiences and how different you would be without them but I felt like this book never really touched on this.

The story is set in an alternate reality where everyone is split into two classes, Mono’s and Duo’s. Mono’s can remember only the day before while Duo’s can recall the last two days. As the famous saying goes “in the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is king” and in this case it is the Duo’s with their additional day of memories who hold the positions of power while the Mono’s are considered second class citizens. Everyone however keeps track of the facts and major events of their lives in their iDiaries.

It is in this alternate reality that we are given a murder mystery. The body of a woman is found in the river and it is up to detective Hans, a mono masquerading as a duo, to solve the case before the day is out and his memories are lost.

The story is told from the points of view of Hans, the diary of the victim Sophie and mono/duo couple Mark and Claire who become involved in the investigation. These four points of view, some jumps back and forward in time combined with trying to understand this alternate reality is perhaps a bit much but you do eventually get into it.

In the beginning I did find the idea of this alternate reality fascinating but for me it quickly became frustrating and irritating. I think I found it difficult to accept that this world could be so similar to ours. There are the same companies (Apple), similar technological developments (the internet) and even the same type of society but everything just seems so cold and emotionless. The iDiaries are effectively used as a replacement for real memories and whenever anyone is asked a question about their past they simply refer to them (at one point I swore that if one more character said “let me just check that in my iDiary” I would scream). It seemed at times just a bit of a gimmick rather than a genuine attempt to create an alternate world (although I suppose it would probably be too much to try and create a completely different world and incorporate a murder mystery).

There is the interesting point over what constitutes a fact, which can be learned and remembered in this world, but I don’t think the author explored this enough and more could definitely be made of it. When is something really a fact and when is it just someone’s opinion? If you’re basing your “facts” on something someone wrote down is there not a danger they could be at best biased and at worst open to manipulation? If you could choose which facts you learn would you omit the ones you don’t like? I really would have loved more exploration of all of these questions.

The murder mystery element of the book is not particularly inspired either. There’s nothing much unique about it other than the detective having a limited time to complete his investigation. Even then a lot of the investigation seems to be reading the diary of the victim which reveals most of the events leading up to the murder and then just verifying whether they are true.

Detective Hans is probably the most likeable of the characters in the book and there are elements of his character and behaviour that felt a little bit Sherlock Holmes inspired, his determination to learn every fact, technique and other bit of knowledge he can for example. The other characters however, victim included, were not even remotely likeable something which I always struggle with and part of the reason I nearly gave up on this story on more than one occasion.

Husband Mark, is a cheat and a liar, a famous writer and wanna be politician. As a duo he sees himself as superior to everyone else. Wife Claire is a whiny, moany, emotional wreck who seriously needs to grow some back bone and victim Sophie comes across as nasty and vengeful. I genuinely couldn’t care less about any of them, never mind who the murderer was.

The split of the narrative between the characters is a little uneven and for some reason Mark and Claire seem to disappear for a big chunk in the middle of the book but actually this is when the story picked up for me. Sophie’s diary and Hans investigation were much more interesting and the book gathered a bit more pace. I found myself wondering whether the story would have been better if it had been wholly from Hans point of view.

When they did reappear however it turned out to be one of the most gripping and touching scenes of the novel before we reached the final twist which wasn’t a total surprise but made up for a lot of what came early on. I do wish the author had been a little briefer in the final exposition (I don’t want things explained to me in detail) but it did wrap everything up.

Overall, I’d probably rate it as an okay read rather than anything special but that may be down to my general dislike of unlikeable and unreliable narrators and complete inability to accept this parallel world. Certainly others have loved it so it may be worth a try.

Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for providing me with an ARC. I wish I could have given a more positive review.

Review: The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

The Marriage PactThe Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Almost impossible to put down. From the very first page I was completely hooked and the gradual build in tension throughout meant that I was reaching for this book at every possible opportunity. It’s not without flaws but there is something about the narrator that is instantly likeable and the premise is so unique that these are very easy to overlook.

Definitely one I’d recommend for all psychological thriller fans.

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ARC Review: Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

Emma in the NightEmma in the Night by Wendy Walker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m starting to think I’m over the whole unlikeable/unreliable narrator thing. I love an intelligent psychological thriller, particularly when the focus is on complex characters and this definitely fits the bill. However, while there were elements that I found fascinating it lacked the tension and emotion it needed to really draw me in. I found it difficult to like, or unfortunately care, about any of the characters and as a result the whole thing left me cold and struggling to focus on the narrative.

The story starts incredibly well with 18 year old Cass, approaching her family home. She and her elder sister Emma both disappeared on the same night three years ago and despite an extensive investigation and search at the time all hope of finding them was abandoned. Cass claims to have escaped from an Island where she and her sister were held prisoner (and her sister still is) but there are more than a few question marks over her story and it soon becomes clear that this is a family with secrets.

The narrative is told from the point of view of both Cass and Dr Abby Winter, a psychologist with the FBI who has been involved with the investigation since the original disappearance. This dual perspective brings a nice balance to the story as we get both “the victim’s” story and an insight into the investigation and evidence. Cass’s narrative jumps back and forth in time from the present day and her return to her time on the island and the events preceding their disappearance.

The complex relationships between Cass and her family make for fascinating if at times confusing reading. Dr Winter suspects her mother of being a narcissist and Cass’s story of her childhood certainly seem to support this. Everything is about her. She has to be viewed as the most attractive, the most powerful and the best mother and god help anyone who threatens that. She is definitely a complex, unpredictable and for that reason engaging character.

Cass is difficult to read. It’s clear from the beginning that she’s pursuing her own agenda (the narrative is very open about this) but it’s difficult to know what that is. Is she trying to be part of the family again, desperately trying to save her sister or could her motives be darker? She comes across as cold and calculating a lot of the time and despite the neglect she clearly suffered I found it difficult to get behind her. I found myself a little detached from her story. It was interesting to read and I was curious about what had happened and what she had planned but it didn’t grip me and there were occasions where I felt like I could quite easily put it down and walk away.

Dr Abby Winter unfortunately wasn’t any more engaging as a narrator. She was involved in the initial investigation into the girl’s disappearance and has been troubled by the case ever since as she recognized the mother for what she was and suspected some kind of involvement. We get some information on her past and the similarities between her upbringing and Cass’s but again while I found it interesting I didn’t really feel it.

I thought the pacing of the story was a little bit on the slow side and the plot was fairly predictable. I found my attention wandering in places which, when you have a story that jumps between two narrators and various time periods, meant I did end up having to re read pages because I’d no idea what was happening or where I was.

It is a well thought out story and I thought building in all of the information around narcissistic personality disorder and the impact on the children was incredibly well done, it does make you wonder if Cass could maybe also be suffering from some kind of mental illness. I just wish I could have connected with or found one character I liked and could get behind.

I do however think I’ve become a little tired of the whole unreliable narrator thing in thrillers (not that I was overly keen on it to begin with) so there is a strong possibility it’s just me. If they are your thing you might find you absolutely love it.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for a review. As always all views are my own.

Emma in the Night is due for publication on the 8th August.

Review: Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon

Don't Close Your EyesDon’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read in a while. It’s my first book from this author but I very much doubt it will be my last. It’s one of those books that you just can’t put down and I more or less finished the whole thing in one sitting.


A gripping novel of psychological suspense centered on two sisters whose lives have taken them apart, and the shocking family secrets that bind them together.

Twin sisters Robin and Sarah haven’t spoken in years.

Robin can’t leave her house. A complete shut-in, she spends her days spying on her neighbors, subtly meddling in their lives. But she can’t keep her demons out forever. Someone from her past has returned, and is desperate to get inside.

Sarah can’t go home. Her husband has kicked her out, forcibly denying her access to their toddler. Sarah will do anything to get her daughter back, but she’s unraveling under the mounting pressure of concealing the dark secrets of her past. And her lies are catching up to her.

The novel takes readers back in time to witness the complex family dynamics that formed Robin and Sarah into the emotionally damaged, estranged young women they’ve become. As the gripping and intricate layers of their shared past are slowly peeled away, the shocks and twists will keep readers breathless long after the final page.


The story is told in alternating chapters from the points of view of twin sisters Sarah and Robin in both the present day and their childhood. Now in their early thirties both are having serious issues. Sarah has a wonderful family but has been ejected from their lives after being accused of something terrible. Robin is severely agoraphobic and spends her time spying on her neighbours or hiding from whoever it is she thinks is out to get her.

I loved the dual points of view and the two time periods and thought it worked wonderfully well. It’s not a particularly action packed read but there’s something about it that just draws you into the story completely and I found myself more emotionally engaged than I ever thought I would be.

For me Robin was probably the more interesting of the characters. As a child/teen she’s wild, angry, impulsive, out of control and just speaks her mind but as a thirty year old adult she has completely transformed into someone who’s scared of their own shadow and tries to control everything around her. You can’t help but wonder what has caused such a dramatic shift. I also absolutely loved the Rear Window aspects of her life. Trapped within her home, watching the neighbours and occasionally interfering in their lives.

Sarah, while possibly not as likeable as Robin, is still a fascinating character to read. She’s the complete opposite of her twin, the good girl, the quiet one who is always on her best behaviour but there’s something a little disturbing about her. She claims to love her family and her child but as you gradually learn the accusations that have been made against her you begin to wonder just how truthful she is.

I thought that the way the author gradually revealed the events of the past was exceptionally well done and a lot of the time I found that more compelling than the present. Without spoilers lets just say their childhoods were troubled because of the complex relationship between their parents and their parents friends.

It ended up being a much more emotional read than I was expecting and yes it did make me cry on a couple of occasions. Often with psychological thrillers you find that it’s difficult to connect with the characters (I blame the whole unreliable/unlikeable narrator trend) but I could feel what they were feeling.

It’s not too difficult to guess what the twists and turns in this book will be, they are quite clearly signposted, but I found I wasn’t really trying to guess and was just going along with the story, waiting for the disaster you could tell was coming.

If I had one criticism of this book, I’m afraid it would have to be the ending. I’m obviously not going to tell you what it is but with the build up I expected more and it was just all over a little bit too quickly for my tastes.

Despite this, I would definitely recommend. Just don’t start it if you have somewhere you need to be as it’s almost impossible to stop reading.

I won a copy of this book in a giveaway on Readers First.

Review: The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

The Girl BeforeThe Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Enjoyable story with some aspects that were fascinating but I didn’t connect to any of the characters and as a result the whole thing left me a little bit cold.

It’s well written however with plenty of twists and turns and reminded me a lot of The Girl on the Train. I think this is a book a lot of people will really love. It just unfortunately didn’t quite work for me.

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