I’ve been seeing this book everywhere, all over my newsfeed and the magazines and it’s caught my eye. When I got an email from NetGalley, I downloaded it immediately and read it the same evening. A fantastic cover and a brilliant, twisting thriller.
“FIRST CLASS PSYCHOLOGICAL SUSPENSE FROM A MAJOR NEW VOICE IN FICTION
Margot Lewis is the agony aunt for The Cambridge Examiner. Her advice column, Dear Amy, gets all kinds of letters – but none like the one she’s just received:
I don’t know where I am. I’ve been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I’m afraid he’ll kill me.
Please help me soon,
Bethan Avery has been missing for years. This is surely some cruel hoax. But, as more letters arrive, they contain information that was never made public. How is this happening? Answering this question will cost Margot everything…”
This book feels like you’re watching an episode of Criminal Minds (one of my favourite FBI/BAU shows). You’re constantly guessing and suspecting, following Margot’s train of thought and sometimes not wholly trusting her and it leads to an incredibly exciting twist and final few chapters.
I love a unreliable narrator as much as the next person and I think Helen Callaghan has done it perfectly. Gone are the excuses of ‘alcoholism amnesia’ or ‘blackouts’, this is realistic, hinting detail at a darker secret and darker past than we are originally led to believe.
At first I found Margot a bit frustrating, a little wet and twee. But there are flashes of anger which completely flip your expectations and as we learn more about her, she became more and more interesting.
The twist is perfect – the kind you realise just as the main character is about to find out. Other than a few passages where I wanted to skip ahead, purely because I was so eager to find out what was going to happen, I was gripped by every word. You become more and more involved towards the last few chapters as it all begins to unravel and any thriller fans will love this book – the slow tension and build up and exciting last few chapters make it a traditional and fantastic thriller novel and I loved the passages where the past of Bethan became unravelled.
I wasn’t as invested in the storylines surround Margot’s lovelife or her interests in the male characters romantically – I was much more interested in the story of Bethan and Katie and finding out what happened. It’s not as gritty as some of the psychological thrillers out there but it has a great old-school thriller feel to it, following the traditional plot sequence and a twist I never would have guessed. It’s one of those books you finish and feel satisfied by because it delivered what it said it would, a thrilling story and an explosive, intense and compelling twist ending.
Dear Amy is out on 16th June from Michael Joseph, £12.99 in hardback.