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.