How well do you know your girlfriend?
How well do you know your lover?
How well do you know yourself?
Daniel and Victoria are together. They’re trying for a baby. Ruby is in prison, convicted of assault on an abusive partner. But when Daniel joins a pen pal program for prisoners, he and Ruby make contact. At first the messages are polite, neutral – but soon they find themselves revealing more and more about themselves. Their deepest fears, their darkest desires. And then, one day, Ruby comes to find Daniel. And now he must decide who to choose – and who to trust.
Expected publication date: 10th October 2019
This novel messed with my mind and left me in a place, a little dark place, *nudges* get it?? All jokes aside it was such a unique and twisted psychological thriller. It starts off in a conventional way and just ends somewhere so far off from where we begin with Dan and the other characters. While I predicted certain elements of the story along the way, the central few twists still took me by surprise and it was an unnerving reading experience for sure.
The novel is told entirely in the form of a letter from Daniel, the main character to someone called Lucy. I’m a big fan of epistolary novels so this was an unexpected but welcome surprise in a thriller. I don’t think I’ve read any other thrillers that make use of this device in the same way. It really worked well in this novel and heightened both the mystery and sense of foreboding. I also thought there was a nice symmetry in this choice as we read the story through letters and get to know these characters, and Daniel and Ruby also converse through letters.
At times, the pacing was a little off and it felt like it was dragging in places where there could have been more plot development or just any action at all. However the way it all comes together more than makes up for these slower moments in the novel as when it got going, it was so engaging. This is the kind of book which will have you questioning each and every one of the characters motivations and you’ll be suspicious of every one. Whether this suspicion is warranted or whether it’s because of Dan and his fractured state of mind as the novel progresses is a key question.
I felt for the characters as they go through a lot as individuals and for Dan and Victoria, as a couple when they face setback after setback when trying for a baby. A. S Hatch explores quite a few important themes such as domestic violence, abuse, grief, miscarriage and cheating to name a few. Some are explored more than others but I believe Hatch does so sensitively and I felt empathy for these characters even in their most morally grey moments. While the novel ends in quite a shocking way, it’s also quite sad which fits the tone of the novel well. It’s a complex and well written novel and I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for an original story in the mystery and thriller genre.
★★★★ – 4 Star Rating
Until next time,