Book review by Cari Mayhew. Rating 9/10.
This author is a master of suspense! The premise of this book called out to me and I was immediately intrigued. I was on tenterhooks all the way through and the story stayed with long after the end!
Stephen Brigstocke is extremely bitter about an event that occurred in 1993, and decides to publish his wife’s book “The Perfect Stranger” about said event. His purpose of publishing the book is solely to provoke guilt in Catherine Ravenstock, and lead her to her own suicide.
I just had to keep the turning and turning the pages until I got to the bit (about a third of the way in) where “The Perfect Stranger” explains what happened. By then I understood Stephen’s bitterness and anger. Catherine’s husband and son are also given copies of the book, and Catherine’s husband swiftly leaves her.
Yet to be satisfied with the outcome, Stephen soon targets Catherine’s son, who later finds himself in intensive care. (Stephen uses new methods this time.)
At 80% of the way through the book, a huge twist is revealed and Catherine confronts Stephen directly.
With 10% of the book left to go, every character has come clean, and I began wondering what more could come – but there was plenty, when everything turned around again at the final twist!
I had been expecting the novel to alternate between Catherine’s life and excerpts from “The Perfect Stranger” but surprisingly Renee Knight deftly uses very few excerpts from it.
The author uses different styles of writing when switching point of views. The majority of the story telling switches between Catherine’s point of view, put forward in the third person, and Stephen’s point of view put forward in the first person. This was deliberate and effective, so that the reader finds themselves identifying just as much, if not more with Stephen, even though the story centres around Catherine being Stephen’s victim.
Also, some passages are told from Catherine’s husband’s standpoint and their son’s, and this element adds to instill the initial concept and add to the suspense.
Although the storytelling sometimes switched from 1993 to 2013, this was smoothly done, and never confusing.
I often buy books when they are on offer for 99p as this was, but I never expect them to be this good – I give this an easy 9/10 and am hoping to find more books from the same author!