Published 17 July 2014 by Mulholland Books/Hodder
Everyone keeps telling me I have to move on. And so here I am, walking down the road where he died, trying to remember him the right way.
A year after her husband Zach's death, Lizzie goes to lay flowers where his fatal accident took place.
As she makes her way along the motorway, she thinks about their life together. She wonders whether she has changed since Zach died. She wonders if she will ever feel whole again.
At last she reaches the spot. And there, tied to a tree, is a bunch of lilies. The flowers are addressed to her husband. Someone has been there before her.
Lizzie loved Zach. She really did.
But she's starting to realise she didn't really know him.
Or what he was capable of . . .
The story starts with a rather chilling prologue in Zach’s voice. It then continues on Valentine’s Day, one year exactly after Zach’s death, with Lizzie making her first visit to the site of the crash, which is where she finds the flowers with a note for her husband…”For Zach”, and the name Xenia, drawn in a large heart. Who is Xenia and why is there a SUV parked up tightly against the bumper of her car in the layby? When she then arrives at his remote cottage in Cornwall, she has the strangest feeling that all is not right.
I do love a suspense filled thriller and this one has different themes running through it – psychopathic behaviour and domestic abuse being just two. We are told at the outset that Zach has been killed in a car crash however things keep happening which concern Lizzie - her flat door being open when she thought she had locked it and also items missing from their flat. Is Zach really dead…or was the accident an elaborate charade and he is actually still alive, tormenting Lizzie in a macabre act of revenge.
The chapters alternate between Lizzie and Zach. Zach’s voice is recalling events from the past and it is through his narrative that we learn the real Zach, or we think we do. His twisted thoughts and actions are quite chilling. He appears to be a very insecure, possessive and controlling person and we must surely have sympathy with Lizzie for bearing the brunt of his abusive behaviour. However Lizzie has a secret of her own – and which gives rise to her increasing belief that Zach is still alive and is following her. As Lizzie delves into Zach’s past for the truth, the more deceit she uncovers. Did she ever know Zach at all?
Zach and Lizzie are complex characters and both are very well written. Zach is good looking, very confident and capable of great charm however his moods can turn on the spin of a coin whereas Lizzie is dowdy and has very little self-confidence. She has a passive character and rather than confront, she prefers to take the easy way out which can make her seem rather weak. However she is not completely in the dark about Zach’s behaviour and a little part of her quietly enjoys the thought of him being jealous and possessive – this surely means that her loves her….
All the way through there are twists and turns and little hints which make you think “hmm, I wonder if….?”. The story is cleverly plotted with structure and pace and there is plenty of tension throughout with no loose ends left hanging. I rarely guess the ending correctly, and I didn’t in this case although I had part of it figured out. This was a book that kept me up late at night just to get to the truth - but it was worth it.
My thanks to Bookbridgr and the publisher for the copy to review.
If I have tempted you at all with this review, I currently have a giveaway for two copies of this book ending at midnight on 2 September 2014 - please see the previous post.
About the author:
Sabine Durrant's first psychological thriller Under Your Skin was published in 2013. Her previous novels are Having It and Eating It and The Great Indoors, and two books for teenage girls, Cross Your Heart, Connie Pickles and Ooh La La! Connie Pickles. She is a former features editor of the Guardian and a former literary editor at the Sunday Times, and her writing has appeared in many national newspapers and magazines. She lives in south London with her partner and their three children.
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