I subscribe to a weekly publishing magazine, and one of my favourite sections is the upcoming releases pages. Every four weeks this focuses on new hardback fiction, usually about three months ahead. So back in October I got the heads up about this book. Not only was the book reviewed in the aforementioned section, but there was a whole double page spread about it. Or, more specifically, about its ending.
‘Twist doesn’t even cover it’ said The Bookseller’s reviewer. ‘#WTFthatending’ said the publisher’s marketing machine on Twitter. ‘Whatever you do, don’t give away that ending…’ said the jacket blurb. So basically, I was desperate to read this book and get to the ending that everyone was going on about. This book went straight to the top of my to-read pile.
The story is told from the point of view of two women – Louise, who is having an affair with her married boss David, and David’s wife Adele. It is essentially a supernatural thriller, although the supernatural element takes a while to get going and it is very ‘light’ paranormal. It’s all treated very realistically and there are no vampires, ghosts or unicorns.
I didn’t exactly find this book un-put-down-able, and it was really only the promised ending that spurred me on. The writing style and characterisations reminded me of a marginally less nauseating The Girl on the Train, so there you go. Disappointing, on the whole. But surely that twist would make it all worth it?!
A good twist, as far as I am concerned, is one that makes you stop and immediately re-think the entire book in the light of the new information. Ideally, you should be able to retrospectively see clues that you had no context for on the first reading and go ‘ahhh, yes! That all makes sense now!’.
I’m sorry to say, I saw the first twist coming a mile off. And I thought it was rather poor. There is, however, a final sting in the tail which I DIDN’T see coming and which did make me pause and reconsider the book in a new light. Disappointingly, though, there was absolutely no warning, no clues, nothing that hinted at this final twist. And that’s important, because without it what you’ve got is essentially a paranormal deus ex machina parachuted into the last page. And that leaves me feeling cheated.
As it happens, there are some really good places where the author could have left a subtle clue or two that would really have enriched the book and improved the impact of the twist.
Get in touch if you finish this book – I’d love to hear your take on ‘that’ ending.
This year I have set myself the challenge of reading 40 books. Pre-baby I'd have gone for the big 52, but that may be a tad too ambitious! I shall be posting a review of every book here on my blog, and welcome your comments and discussion.