Nearest Thing to Crazy by Elizabeth Forbes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was delighted to be provided with a review copy of this book by Cutting Edge Press, as I'd already read a couple of very favourable reviews by friends whose tastes are similar to mine and I thought it sounded exciting.
Exciting it certainly is, this is a fast paced psychological thriller set in an idyllic middle England country village where Cass has a cosy home which she enjoys pottering about in, a close knit circle of friends, a loving husband and since their only daughter Laura flew the nest to University has started her own little gardening business. Life couldn't be much better .... but it COULD get a whole lot worse!
Enter Ellie, glamorous, bright and sophisticated she swans into town in a sports car and instantly fits in with the local crowd. Of a similar age to Cass, she makes friendly overtures towards everyone, Cass included and during a heart to heart Cass instantly feels Ellie understands her and believes she has found a new friend and confidante, but things rapidly become strained between the 2 women when a series of misunderstandings mean Cass gets her nose pushed out by Ellie and old insecurities begin to surface making her feels she is deliberately being usurped. Things rapidly go downhill for Cass and her life begins to feel as if it's no longer safe, she feels vulnerable and threatened.
Cass is the main narrator but we are also treated at intervals to Ellies very different point of view on events and as both women are persuasive and believable we begin to waver as to which one we believe most - who should we trust? The narrative switches effortlessly between the 2 women and events which begin gradually and insidiously soon become terrifying and terrible.
It really scared me how quickly things can change and how difficult it can be to make people believe you once doubts are in their minds. I was actually quite worried that at times I couldn't see a way out of the increasingly desperate situation.
This is a taut and terrifying page turner of the very highest calibre - which will sit comfortably on a bookshelf containing books like
Into the Darkest Corner
One Step Too Far
and Gone Girl
It's quite hard to credit that this is a debut novel - it's so slick and accomplished it reads as though the author is a well established literary genius.
Read it and enjoy the shivers which run down your spine - but think twice before you tell your best friend about it - you never know WHO you can trust.