Saturday, 14 January 2017

The girl before - J P Delaney - a raunchy thriller

The Girl Before by J P Delaney - my Review

A rather unusual, contemporary sexy thriller.

Meet Jane and Emma, they have quite a few things in common, these 2 young women and yet their situations and personalities are quite different. One thing they do have in common,  is they have both lived at the same address – One Folgate Street, a state of the art architect designed luxury pad filled with the latest hi tech gadgetry, which they have both been permitted to rent at a peppercorn rent in return for abiding by some stringent and frankly weird rules.

Meet Edward Monkton the designer and owner of this unique property. Widowed and obsessive he personally interviews and vets every tenant and insists they follow his intricate requirements to live in the house he created in memory of his late wife and child.

Jane has a very particular reason for wanting to live there, she needs a new start following the stillbirth of her baby, still reeling from grief One Folgate street will give her the chance to begin again. But soon after moving in she begins to receive deliveries of flowers which turn out to be from the ex-boyfriend of the previous tenant Emma and thus we learn about Emma and begin to move back and forth in time as we hear both girls telling their respective experiences in the house.
Emma moved in there with her boyfriend Simon following a violent and distressing break-in, which has left her shaken and feeling unsafe, but far from being the haven she hopes for One Folgate Street becomes the catalyst for her life to spiral even further out of control and reveals herself to be a somewhat unreliable narrator.

Jane begins to investigate what happened to Emma and what she uncovers is at times worrying and unsavoury and leaves her fearing for her own safety.

There are quite a few shocks and twists in the imaginative storyline and it becomes clear that its not easy to know who to trust and who not to. Have the girls been selected as tenants by Edward Monkton for some sinister ulterior motive? What exactly happened to Emma and who was behind it?

A clever and unpredictable page turning thriller with some sinister and tense scenes coupled with a raunchiness that in some places left me a touch uneasy. The stark minimalism and pristine uncluttered cleanliness of the strange house jarred with the raunchy yet clinical passion of its manipulative (yet coldly attractive to some women) owner whom I found petty, pernickety and sexist yet scary and mystifying.

The author seems to have tried to combine elements of 50 shades – with hints of several popular current psychological thrillers, it shouldn’t have worked but it actually did end up pretty gripping reading, if a little too pulp fiction and slightly too little literary merit for my usual tastes.
A quick read if you’re seeking a weekends entertainment to curl up with. Plenty going on, surprises and thrills yet easy to follow.

My thanks go to Netgalley for my advance reading copy and the publishers Quercus for granting my request to read and review it.

The blurb

Enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection . . . but can you pay the price? 

For all fans of The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl comes this spellbinding Hitchcockian thriller which takes psychological suspense to the next level ....

Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there - and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma's past and Jane's present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

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