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Review: THE BOOK OF YOU, Claire Kendal


"This book had me sitting up until 3am reading it; I couldn’t put it down"

BOOK BLURB

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 I SAY

The start is subtle yet immediately nerve-tingling, and slowly ramps up until by the mid-point it is almost stiflingly claustrophobic. Like the main character, Clarissa, I reached a stage where the mere mention of Rafe’s presence on the page made my flesh crawl slightly; and that is a testament to Claire Kendal’s writing ability.

There may be some readers who think that Clarissa is weak, and that she should have gone to the police earlier, but how do you go to the police to complain about someone going through your bin and stealing your used yoghurt pot, for example? Many real life victims of stalking will attest that their tormentors start off doing such innocuous things that they seem petty when told to others. This is what grinds victims down and isolates them – and Claire Kendal does a brilliant job of illustrating it.

I also loved the use of fairy tales as a gothic theme running through the book, as that is something that is very close to my own heart.

Some of the scenes are very graphic and do make uncomfortable reading – they won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, so do be warned. But they didn’t feel gratuitous, and added to the horror that the author slowly builds. This book had me sitting up until 3am reading it; I couldn’t put it down and kept promising myself that I would just read until the end of the next chapter…and the next chapter…and the next…

All in all, this is a taut, well-observed and well-written novel that had me gripped. Claustrophobic, tense, and haunting, lovers of psychological thrillers will really enjoy this book.

#thebookofyou #clairekendal

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