Monday, 6 June 2016

S is for Stranger - Louise Stone - confusing

My thoughts

I SO wanted to love this story. The description whet my appetite and the cover is really enticing – that shattered heart shaped lollipop and the title scrawled in pen – very intriguing. Then there are the accolades comparing it to several books I’ve enjoyed, Wow I was champing at the bit to start reading this new psychological thriller.

That’s where my excitement fizzled out somewhat. I realise that I was privileged to receive an advance uncorrected proof copy and I will give a lot of the flaws in the book the benefit of the doubt, hoping that they will be ironed out in the final edit, the grammatical errors so frequent and glaring they jarred. The jumpy and erratic nature of the storytelling I assume is deliberate, it paints a picture of a fractured mind struggling to grasp reality but I found it over confusing and annoying.

Sophie is the narrator, a recovering alcoholic, split from her husband, trying to get custody of 8 year old daughter Amy, when Amy goes missing, Sophies recall of events is erratic and sketchy and constantly changes. Ex-husband Paul is behaving suspiciously and Sophie becomes more and more frantic to find Amy. But there’s another mystery she’s also desperate to solve, what exactly happened 16 years earlier the night her best friend Bethany died, Sophies convinced it was murder others tell her it was suicide.

Sophie is the most unreliable narrator ever. Nothing is quite as it seems and everything she does is a direct contradiction of what she said 5 minutes ago. I stuck with it despite being so confused I wanted to scream – wanting to know what had happened to Amy, who was who and what was what. Oh dear me – I read it right to the very last word expecting some huge twist and was left sorely wanting.

This is one muddled and convoluted storyline where half the things which happen just seem to have no purpose. Hardly anything was resolved and even the parts which had some closure did it in a pretty unsatisfactory way

People keep suddenly appearing in the story, half of them have no relevance to the story and most of them are two dimensional. It’s a really clever idea poorly executed. So disjointed it makes it impossible to get to know the characters or feel any empathy for anyone even the missing little girl.

I’m left with a sense of turbulent confusion and an unsettling disappointment.

I received my copy via Netgalley for the purpose of reviewing and as I said earlier it was an uncorrected proof maybe in the final copy for sale it will be fine-tuned and easier to follow.

The blurb

A gripping debut psychological thriller you don’t want to miss!

‘Louise Stone is an exciting new talent to watch. S is for Stranger is full of tension and atmosphere. A hugely compelling read.’ ― Amanda Jennings, author of In Her Wake

There are two sides to every story.

But only one is true.

Sophie wished she’d paid more attention when her little daughter, Amy, caught sight of a stranger watching them. She only looked away for a second. But now Amy’s gone.

No one trusts an alcoholic. Even a sober one. The police are suspicious of Sophie’s tangled story and so is her ex-husband, Paul. Especially when new information emerges that changes everything.

But what if Sophie is telling the truth? What if her daughter really is missing? And what if that stranger at the fairground wasn’t really a stranger at all…

Perfect for readers looking for their next addictive read afterThe Girl on the Train and Behind Closed Doors.

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