No Longer Safe - A. J. Waines
But a while ago I was contacted and asked if I'd like to read a new twisty psychological thriller called No Longer Safe by A. J. Waines and as I have so many books waiting on my tbr I sadly declined but as this is a genre I love, I featured a short article by the author about writing psychological thrillers.
An e-copy of the book arrived nonetheless, just in case I'd like to read it for pleasure at some point, well, want to and be able to are often 2 very different things but I popped it on my kindle anyway.
Several books later and looking for my next read, I browsed through my unread titles, came across No Longer Safe and made the fatal mistake of thinking I'll just read the first page ... and I did and I got hooked right into this book and here we are several days later and I'm thinking WOW, that one sure packed a punch!
It's everything the perfect psychological thriller should be - several complex characters you get to know rather well yet don't really like as they are all deeply flawed. A compelling storyline with various plotlines and subtexts going on and a ruddy great shocker of a twist near the end!
We are introduced to the main narrator, Alice at the beginning when she receives out of the blue a completely unexpected invitation from an old college friend Karen to get together and spend some time together having a winter break at a rural holiday cottage in Scotland where Karen is helping her baby daughter Mel recuperate from a stay in hospital. She accepts despite a little trepidation not having seen Karen since their university days but she has had a lot going on and feels a break might be just whats needed to cheer her up. The story alternates between her voice and that of Karen, about whom it soon becomes obvious has some ulterior motives to her invitation.
On arriving Alice is disappointed to find the holiday cottage is a rather run down place and to her chagrin discovers that Karen has invited 2 more old college pals, whom Alice was rather glad to have seen the back of. Into the bleak location and chilly winter setting are woven parallel storylines, a child has gone missing nearby, something seems not quite right with the other 2 houseguests, snide Mark and needy Jodie, and a sudden death threatens to unhinge everything.
Despite the rather remote location there is still the opportunity to meet new folk and Alice finds a new friend Nina and even has the chance of romance when she meets an attractive and attentive stranger but she finds Karen changed and wary, Mark and Jodie as flaky as pastry and she doesn't know who she can trust, neither does the reader, you will be suspicious and disbelieving and not know who has done what and to whom and why but all will fall into place and I defy you not to gasp at the audacity of the outcomes.
Underneath everything is an air of mystery and deceit and lots of things that just aren't right, skewed motives, people being dishonest and hiding things and some really strange and unlikely decisions being made. This is exactly what makes a credible and exciting psychological chiller. If everyone was credible and likeable it wouldn't be half as exciting.
A brilliant read I wholeheartedly recommend if you like twisty tales with shocks throughout and chilling surprises towards the conclusion.
Thankyou to the author for allowing me a copy and for writing such an enjoyable and tense novel.
The Blurb - from Goodreads
When Alice receives an invitation from Karen, her charismatic University friend, to stay in a remote cottage in Scotland, she can’t wait to rekindle their lost friendship. But two more former students arrive – never friends of Alice’s – and as the atmosphere chills, Karen isn’t the warm-hearted soulmate Alice remembers. Barely is the reunion underway before someone is dead and the fragile gathering is pushed to breaking point.
As the snow cuts them off from civilisation and accusations fly, Alice finds herself a pawn, sinking deeper into a deadly game she can’t escape.