What’s it all about?:
A terrifying psychological thriller about obsession and power, perfect for fans of Gone Girl and Before I Go to Sleep.
Clarissa is becoming more and more frightened of her colleague, Rafe. He won’t leave her alone, and he refuses to take no for an answer. He is always there.
Being selected for jury service is a relief. The courtroom is a safe haven, a place where Rafe can’t be. But as a violent tale of kidnap and abuse unfolds, Clarissa begins to see parallels between her own situation and that of the young woman on the witness stand.
Realizing that she bears the burden of proof, Clarissa unravels the twisted, macabre fairytale that Rafe has spun around them – and discovers that the ending he envisions is more terrifying than she could have imagined.
What did WE think?:
CHRISSI: The book builds a real feeling of dread, making the reader feel extremely uncomfortable- how does the author build the tension in the novel?
BETH: There is definitely a lot of tension in this novel. At first the timeline skips around a bit, from the time Clarissa first met Rafe and the incident that occurred then, to the present day where she is currently participating in jury service on a case of kidnapping, imprisonment and rape. Rafe has to be one of the most awful characters I have ever read! When Clarissa spurns his advances, she never expects it will go to the level that it gets to and has to begin a journal (The Book Of You) so she can write in detail, every little thing that he is doing to provide as much evidence as possible before she goes to the police. I think the author built the tension by interspersing Clarissa’s journal with details of the trial case that she is sitting on at the present time. It almost gave the reader a little breather (which was needed!) from the horrors of what Rafe is doing but then kept you reading on just to get to the next journal entry and find out the latest thing Clarissa has been subjected to.
BETH: Did it take you a long time to get into this book or were you immediately hooked?
CHRISSI: No. Surprisingly. This book does jump about in time which isn’t always my favourite way to read a narration, but somehow it worked within this book. I was impressed! I do think there are points in the book that drag slightly but in the main part I was engrossed, incredibly creeped out and engaged in the story.
CHRISSI: What did you make of the writing style of this book?
BETH: I have to admit, I was a bit worried at first with this book and the hop-forward, hop-back in time style which we see so often and can be done well or very badly. Luckily in this case, I feel it was written excellently and I was never confused about the characters or their place in time. I also loved how the way in which we got a journal entry (some of which were so creepy I swear my heart was racing) then accounts of her time as a juror. These parts I enjoyed a little less but were still excellently written, I think I was too desperate to see what was going to happen in the journal to be honest!
BETH: What did you think of the character of Clarissa?
CHRISSI: I wasn’t sure what to make of her at first. Clarissa seems to be a people pleaser at the start, not wanting to upset anyone, so ends up going home with someone she usually wouldn’t have. She seems very confused and her longing for a baby made my heart ache. I was a little frustrated with Clarissa when the stalking went on for so long. I just wanted to grab hold of her and tell her she needed to report what was going on! It had become way too intense!
CHRISSI: Talk about the parallels between what is happening to Clarissa and what is unfolding in the court case that she is on the jury for.
BETH: Clarissa is serving time on a jury which she is immensely relieved about as she happens to work with Rafe, the man who is stalking her, and it provides what she thinks will be some much needed time away from him. Unfortunately, this turns out not to be the case in two ways. The first is that things with Rafe become dramatically more intense and frightening. Secondly, there are certain events in the trial she is sitting in on that parallel with Clarissa’s own experiences. The case is one of kidnapping, rape and imprisonment where the victim is scrutinised so blatantly that soon Clarissa begins to feel that she cannot escape her worst nightmare and even if she can, has she even a chance in court?
BETH: Do you think that Clarissa’s coping mechanisms for being stalked were good? Why?
CHRISSI: I think it was good that Clarissa was keeping track of everything that was going on. It all was evidence against her stalker. However, I felt like it went on for an incredibly long time, it getting creepier and creepier. I almost felt like Clarissa was dicing with danger and living to close to the edge.
CHRISSI: There are sometimes some very intense moments in this book. Do you think they were handled well or were they too graphic?
BETH: I can’t remember the last time I read a novel this intense or graphic. Yes, the novel did have plenty of graphic scenes (the photographs urrrgh and *shiver*) but I think the author handled it well and I think I was more disgusted than offended. This didn’t stop me wanting to read on however!
BETH: Were you happy with the ending of this book? (no spoilers! 🙂 )
CHRISSI: No spoilers!! 🙂 I feel like the ending was tied up a little too neatly for my liking. It felt contrived.
CHRISSI: There have been a lot of dark thrillers in recent years. Do you think this book stands out in its own right?
BETH: I did groan when I saw that this book had been compared to Gone Girl and Before I Go To Sleep, both books that I enjoyed. I think it’s always hard when you’re being compared to things that have been such a huge success and I’m happy to say that this book definitely stood alone as a fascinating, frightening and fabulous read. It had it’s own style which I loved and was an interesting look at the terrifying things that a victim of stalking may go through.
BETH: Would you read another book by this author?
CHRISSI: Yes! I think this was a great, accomplished debut. I’d be interested to see where the author goes next with her writing.
Would WE recommend it?:
BETH: But of course!
CHRISSI: Of course!
BETH’s star rating (out of 5):
CHRISSI’s star rating (out of 5)