- The Good: Fun and fast-paced mystery
- The Bad: Lots of plot threads, many of which are questionable
- The Literary: 2019 Goodreads Choice Award for Mystery & Thriller and Nominee for Debut Novel
Alicia Berenson, a young and famous painter, lives in a grand house in one of London’s most desirable neighborhoods. One evening, when her successful fashion photographer husband Gabriel returns home late, Alicia shoots him five times in the face and slits her wrists. Police find her alive, her husband dead, and her fingerprints on the gun, but from that day on she refuses to speak a word.
As much as it seems like this story is about Alicia, it’s really about the relationship between Alicia and her new criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber, who quits his job without hesitation to work at the facility where Alicia is imprisoned. He’s determined to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband. He goes out of his way to earn her trust and without the permission of his current employer, interviews people from Alicia’s previous life.
This is a quick page-turner, with a lot of focus on the mental health of both Alicia and Theo. The psychology focuses on the idea of the inner child and that many our adult tendencies stem from trauma we experienced as children. Theo narrates, slowly revealing both his own adult life and childhood events as he uncovers Alicia’s. The short punchy chapters make it easy to read just one more.
The climax and final reveal is held in suspense until the very end of the story, and as a mystery novice, it takes me by surprise. There are an overwhelming number of plot holes and red herrings, and essentially everyone becomes a suspect, so if you try and solve the mystery ahead of time, I think you may get frustrated. Don’t think too hard about this one, just enjoy the ride.
Recommended for fans of psychological mystery thrillers!