The Girl Before – JP Delaney

This is my third JP Delaney read and I think it’s my favourite so far.  It’s a few years old now but I’m trying to read his entire backlist because seriously, this guy is insanely good, and this book was insanely good, with emphasis on the word insane – lol.

The master of psychological thrillers, JP Delaney has written one messed up crazy story here.  I think what freaked me out the most was just how easily something as frightening as this could happen.  He is a master at developing characters, you understand them so fully and feel so completely what they feel that it’s as if everything is happening right in front of you, you don’t have to imagine it, you are literally immersed in the story.

Enter the world of One Folgate Street.  An award winning home designed by the mysterious architect Edward Monkford.  After losing his wife and child, he believes in simplicity, in a minimalistic lifestyle.  Everything he owns can fit into one small bag.  This lifestyle carries over into the house he has built, and anyone who wishes to take on the lease and live is this beautifully sleek dwelling with its clean lines, and stone surroundings must be willing to follow the rules, no exceptions made.  For all its beauty though, the house has a deadly past and choosing to live there is not for the faint hearted.

The book alternates superbly between the two main characters, Emma, the girl before, and Jane, the girl now.  We move between the past as we witness the unravelling of Emma, and the present day as we follow Jane trying to piece together the house’s history.  What were the circumstances of Emma’s death, was it really an accident?  What secrets was this house holding?

Oh there is so much more I want to say, so many things about this story I want to talk about, but going into this one blind is was made it sooooo good.  The twists and turns kept me riveted.  I never knew which way the story would bend and what fresh secrets the house would spill.

This is an absolute must read for any psychological thriller fans out there, you won’t be disappointed.

*****

Review – Playing Nice

Playing Nice – JP Delaney

Another twisting and turning tale from the masterful JP Delaney.  This one had me flying through the pages.  What was going on?  How were the babies switched?  Are the birth parents up to something?  Are the other parents up to something?  Stop!!! My brain is hurting!!!

I’m fast becoming a huge fan of this author and Playing Nice confirmed why.  Pete and Maddie are parents to 2 year old Theo who was born prematurely and spent a number of weeks in the NICU unit in one of London’s busy hospitals.  Maddie has since returned to work in advertising and Pete, a freelance journalist, is relishing playing the role of stay at home dad to his young son. 

Life is meandering along pretty nicely for them both bar the slightly too often behavioural issues that Theo displays when at day-care.  That is until one morning there is a knock on the door and a complete stranger drops what can only be described as every parent’s worst nightmare onto Pete.  Sorry, but I believe you have my child.  Yep, apparently there was a bit of a mix up at the hospital and we each have the wrong kid.  .  What the?

Enter Miles and Lucy, the parents of little David, who as it turns out is actually Pete and Maddie’s son.  Wow, confused yet?  Don’t be.  The storyline alternates brilliantly between Pete and Maddie and their take on the situation and all that unfolds…..and boy, is there a lot of unfolding. 

Both families try to work through not only how this could have happened, but what it means for the future of their children, while trying to find the most amicable solution possible. 

Agreeing that both boys should stay with the parents they have spent the first two years of their life with, while still being a part of the other family’s life, it really seems like all could work out.  Wrong!! Instead life for Pete and Maddie soon turns into a terrifying world of betrayal and fear.

I found myself screaming at this book so many times, almost like you do in a horror movie when you know something really bad is about to happen!!  The suspense was first rate.  A carefully constructed domestic/psychological suspense thriller is how I would sum this one up and a really really good one at that. 

And of course I always love to see my hometown of Adelaide referenced in a novel.

Another review where I’m not going to say too much about the plot, the less you know the better the ride. 

A huge thank you to Hachette Australia for the opportunity to read this awesome book.  This one is out now and you really need to grab yourself a copy.

*****