Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Disclaimer - Renee Knight - a cleverly constructed maze of a book

From Goodreads:

A remarkable debut in the vein of Before I Go to Sleep—and already an international sensation—Disclaimer is a brilliantly conceived, deeply unsettling psychological thriller about a woman haunted by secrets, the consuming desire for revenge, and the terrible price we pay when we try to hide the truth

Finding a mysterious novel at her bedside plunges documentary filmmaker Catherine Ravenscroft into a living nightmare. Though ostensibly fiction, The Perfect Stranger recreates in vivid, unmistakable detail the terrible day she became hostage to a dark secret, a secret that only one other person knew—and that person is dead.

Now that the past is catching up with her, Catherine’s world is falling apart. Her only hope is to confront what really happened on that awful day . . . even if the shocking truth might destroy her.

My thoughts:

If you like your books convoluted this is one twisty turny tale that won't disappoint.

With secrets galore gradually being unpeeled, layer upon layer and red herrings scattered throughout, it kept me guessing and gasping like all the best of psychological chillers.

This is the story of Catherine, a successful documentary maker, who upon finding a novel beside her bed, reads it, only to discover it is based on her past life - a past she has kept firmly concealed, until now when her secrets threaten to erupt and change her life.

It's also the story of retired teacher Stephen Brigstocke a confused and shambling ruin of a man, dealing with loss and loneliness, their lives collide and cause Catherine to face her demons, but can she maintain her carefully constructed life and how much of it is based on lies?

I loved the storyline, cleverly written beginning with you as the reader not really understanding anything, and desperate to be let in on what it is Catherine has kept hidden and why, then as bits and pieces are revealed about Catherines past, sometimes they provide a lightbulb moment and sometimes a shadowy hint like a badly developed negative with a fleeting shadow cast across it and frequently reavealing something rather different than you expected.

One minute I pitied one character, then my perception changed and I scorned them, my sympathies lay with one person then I doubted my loyalties were in the right place.

Perhaps it was a little difficult to really get inside the characters and feel kinship with them as much as I like in a book, but possibly this is part of the nature of the book based on secrets and concealment. The backbone of the story is after all about hoe keeping something deliberately hidden can have huge consequences almost as great as the thing you were trying to hide in the beginning.

I found it a real attention grabber, which I just wanted to read a little more and then a little more still. Until I was quite suddenly at the end and even the ending didn't disappoint. A satisfying and cleverly constructed maze of a book.

My thanks to Random House publishers and Netgalley for allowing me to be one of the privileged few to read this in advance of publication.

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