Author – Jenny Blackhurst
Published – 2016
Genre – Psychological thriller
This was a gripping psychological thriller with a real sting in the tail. The opening of the book sets the scene with the uncomfortable initial session of a psychiatric consultation between Karen, the psychiatrist, and Jessica, the new patient.
Karen is one of a group of three close friends – Bea and Eleanor making up the trio. The women are quite different characters – which is probably true of most groups of close friends. Eleanor is the maternal figure, loving being a Mum, Bea is footloose and fancy free and Karen is the ‘fixer’, the one who sorts out her friends’ problems. But all is not sweetness and light – Bea is still affected by an incident from her past, Eleanor feels as if she is falling apart and Karen’s long-term partner is often absent.
Over a period of five weeks the psychiatric sessions continue and Jessica continues to be a confrontational patient. There is a gentle increase in tension as Karen becomes increasingly disturbed about how much her new patient knows about her and her closest friends. And Karen understands the importance of the rules of confidentiality.
The chapters are told from different points of view – Karen, Bea, and Eleanor in the past tense, third person, a number of chapters in the past first person from someone who isn’t identified and interspersed with these are a number of short pieces of what seem to be interview transcript in the present, hinting at the events that will unfold.
As well as being a psychological thriller this is also a book about female friendships – but perhaps in a more realistic way than they might be portrayed in ‘chic lit’ where you might normally find them. These are all characters with shades of good and bad and they are all put under an increasing amount of pressure. With the secrets within the group and a series of sinister events the book was bound to reach a compelling climax.
Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy.