Hera Books | August 2020
Source: NetGalley 

Lucy is a probation officer and her profession enables her to interact with various kinds of prisoners. Lucy has some  problems with one of them, though - a young sex offender called Simon Gould, and he is on a trial for an early release although Lucy doesn't support his release. Simon has a way of playing mind games with her and as much as Lucy doesn't want to admit, in truth he terrifies her. 

Lucy's best friend, Emma, knew all about the dynamics working as a probation officer. After all, she and Lucy met six months before at a Personal Development for Probation Staff conference and they've clicked from there. On one occasion when Lucy and Emma are drinking at a bar, they meet a psychologist named Paul Webb. Sparks fly between Lucy and Paul and soon they are in a relationship. Things are going on well until their whirlwind romance culminates in marriage, which surprised Lucy herself. Suddenly, Paul is like a changed man. No longer the sweet and understanding man, he becomes secretive and worst of all, wants to control Lucy's life. 

It is also at this time that Lucy finds herself being harassed by Simon's phone calls, or someone leaving a stalk of rose at the front of their house. But when Lucy reported these to her superior, it becomes clear to them that Lucy is too stressed for the job, and that Simon has never left the facility. Back at home, Lucy continues to live in fear under Paul's control until she finds stacks of old photographs of a young woman in Paul's drawer and began to question about his past. 

Intense-wise, this book checks the box and I was intrigued by the dynamic between Lucy and Paul. The author has done a good job in portraying their characteristics as well as their credibility, for my choice kept switching back and forth between these two characters (is Lucy sane, or does Paul has something to hide?) 

While the startup of this convoluted psychological thriller turns out strong and well, I felt the ending was a bit rushed and there are some loose ends which aren't fully explained. For example, what happened to Simon Gould since he was a terror to Lucy? And perhaps it's me, but I didn't fully grasp the meaning of the last few pages although I think it might be the author's intention of putting it that way. Overall, it was a decent read and the intrigue had kept most of my interest. 

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14 Responses
  1. Kay Says:

    Thanks for telling us about this book, Melody. I'm just struggling a bit with finding these types of thrillers appealing right now. They certainly grab the reader, but I've not been as drawn to them for a while. Will keep this one in mind, but probably won't be seeking it out any time soon.

  2. Melody Says:

    Kay - There've been a lot of domestic thrillers in the market right now and I suppose they're the trend but I understand it could be overwhelming at times. I've a few books of such genre from NetGalley so I've to finish reading them soon before they expire.

  3. Lark Says:

    Another one I'm not sure I'll be picking up any time soon. I need lighthearted and feel good right now. :)

  4. jenclair Says:

    While there are plenty of manipulative and controlling men out there, but when too many plots involve this premise, it can forfeit impact. The rushed ending and the fact that you don't find out what happened to Simon sounds disappointing.

  5. Melody Says:

    Lark - Totally understand the need to read a lighthearted and feel-good book. As mentioned (see my answer to Kay), I need to finish reading books of this genre before they expire. :)

  6. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - Indeed, Jenclair. This was an OK read to me; just wish the ending was better explained. Oh well.

  7. Iliana Says:

    The premise sounds really good so a bit of a disappointment that such a strong beginning didn't have the follow through. I'm sort of tempted but I find myself leaning more towards general fiction at the moment.

  8. I am sorry this one was disappointing. I hadn't heard of it before.

  9. Melody Says:

    Iliana - It has an interesting premise. Just wish the execution was better.

  10. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I hadn't heard of this title initially too but I'm glad to have found it on NetGalley. Another new-to-me author to explore.

  11. Anne Says:

    I loved the book - until the end, which I just didn't understand at all. Can someone please explain it?

  12. Melody Says:

    Anne - I think the ending is ambiguous and we are left to assume what had happened. Truth be told, I can't remember much of the ending since I'd read it a while back. My apologies.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Did Lucy die in the end. Did she kill Paul.

  14. Melody Says:

    My memory is fuzzy since I'd read this a while back, but I don't think she died. The ending is ambiguous, though.

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