Review of Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

behind-her-eyes

I was very fortunate to receive an ARC of this book. I happened to be looking at my emails when one pinged from NetGalley offering a limited number of ARC’s. I quickly read the blurb and was instantly intrigued so I acted – quickly – and ended up one of the lucky ones.

But then life (and Christmas) arrived, and I forgot all about it sitting there on my Kindle, especially as another couple of books crept up my TBR pile. So it was with extreme excitement that I sat down yesterday to read this book.

Behind Her Eyes is a psychological thriller – a phenomena that seems to be taking over the literary world at the moment.

Adele has the perfect life. She’s rich, beautiful, has a successful and equally gorgeous husband, David, who is a psychiatrist. The clichés scream from the page – they’re meant to.

You get your first inkling that all is not well with Adele and David’s marriage when David kisses his secretary, Louise, during a drunken fumble in a pub one night (made more awkward because neither of them realise they are boss/secretary at the time as David hasn’t started his new job yet).

After a chance meeting with David’s wife, Louise and Adele become unlikely friends, and slowly, Louise gets drawn into their intricate, weird, and downright scary marriage.

At the beginning, I wasn’t keen on the way the book was written. It moved from first person (told from both Adele and Louise’s POV) in the present, to third person when the novel backtracked to the past. It gave me a bit of a headache, to be honest, but when I was fifteen to twenty percent through, I forgot my irritation, and was fully drawn into the story.

And drawn in, I was. There was lots of things I should have been doing today, but I just couldn’t put the book down. I was determined to finish, and I began to do that thing I do when I’m at the ‘business end’ of a book – speed reading in an urgent need to find out what happens!

And when I did…..well I’ll be honest. It fell very flat for me. There are not one, but two twists at the end which are meant to propel you into shock and awe, but I didn’t have that experience at all. Maybe the level to which I had to suspend belief was just too far of a stretch for my mind. It made the end more of a ‘give me strength’ moment rather than ‘wow, that is scary and could really happen’.

Up until 90%, I’d have given this book a massively deserved five stars, but the last 10% would struggle to achieve two and a half for me. A shame, because the author can certainly write thrillers; there is no doubt in my mind about that. Maybe the pressure for the ‘killer twist’ that all psychological thrillers seem to be driven to deliver is now pushing us into unbelievable plots. For me, a good thriller doesn’t need a ‘surprise twist’. After all, real life is far more scary than fantasy.

 

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