What I'm Reading
A man disappears leaving his phone, wallet and keys behind. His wife is seen clearing out their bank account. Then she is accused of domestic abuse and murder. But nothing is as it seems.
For a moment it appears like another Gone Girl: a volatile marriage where 'evidence' suggests that one spouse has murdered the other. However, the story doesn't pan out like that. It is a tale of people pretending to be people they are not, each character and situation offering up different reasons why this is so. Set in a world of ultimate pretenders - actors.
There are two timelines, one modern and one thirty years before. A child takes the name of a couple's dead child in an attempt, in the parent's warped grief, to replace her. They are not a stable couple and mix with the criminal underworld where a lot of pretence is needed for survival. When the child grows up she keeps the name she was given and is on the cusp of a successful acting career. Until information about her husband unfolds leaving her doubting everything about everyone, including herself.
This is a clever story with plenty to think about. The revelations are not predictable although a tad too far-fetched in places and the ending is unnecessarily sensational. But the most disappointing part of this book is the self-absorbed, self pitying central character who doesn't realise how attractive she is, bears grudges for every superficial perceived slight ('She said I was chubby but pretty. Bitch.') and written in the style of someone with the mindset of a fourteen year old. Fortunately the plot overrides this wallowing about half way through. If you can get past that it's a good read.
Published by HQ Stories, April 2019. Available to buy here
Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.