Sunday 4 January 2015

Before We Met - Lucie Whitehouse - review

Before We Met is a widely acclaimed psychological suspense novel by Lucie Whitehouse that was published not long ago. In the wake of all the publicity about the films of Gone Girl and Before I Go to Sleep., I decided to try another book in broadly the same field. Unlike Gone Girl, however, but like Louise Millar's Accidents Happen, Before We Met is set in England (apart from a few flashback scenes in the US).

I'm a fan of psychological suspense, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who is sorry that Minette Walters has not been very productive of late. Her The Sculptress is one of my all-time favourites in this genre. I also very much enjoyed A Likeness in Stone by Julia  Wallis Martin, another excellent novelist who has sadly been absent from the scene for quite a while. Nicci French, too, has moved away from superb stand-alones to the greater orthodoxy of a series. There's no shortage of other writers working in the same field, and achieving similar success. Sophie Hannah, to name but one - even though, interestingly, she has just digressed into the very different world of Hercule Poirot.

In Lucie Whitehouse's book, Hannah is a young woman who seems to have it all. She's recently married Mark,a wealthy businessman, who is devoted to her, and although she's not found a new job since marriage brought her back home from the States, that is surely only a question of time. But one day she goes to meet Mark at the airport - and he doesn't show up. What has happened, and is her lovely marriage all it seemed? No prizes, I'm afraid, for guessing the answer to the second question.

I was interested that Whitehouse chose to tell her story in the third rather than the first person. This risks some loss of immediacy, but I found the first half of the book gripping. Once one particular secret was revealed, I felt the story became relatively conventional, and certainly more orthodox than the best-sellers by Gillian Flynn and S. J. Watson, but it's still a decent read from start to finish. .

1 comment:

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