Tuesday 18 October 2016

Reviewed: Before I Let You In by Jenny Blackhurst

TITLE: Before I Let You In
AUTHOR: Jenny Blackhurst

PUBLICATION DATE: November 3, 2016

Amazon - Goodreads

If you don't know who is walking through the door, how do you know if you should let them in?

Karen is meant to be the one who fixes problems.

It's her job, as a psychiatrist - and it's always been her role as a friend.

But Jessica is different. She should be the patient, the one that Karen helps.

But she knows things about Karen. Her friends, her personal life. Things no patient should know.

Before I Let You In focuses on the long-term friendship between Karen, a psychiatrist, Eleanor, a ridiculously tired mum, and Bea, who is happy and enjoying her single life. They are best friends but we soon learn that things are not what they seem. Each character is hiding something and there is one woman who may have the answers. When Eleanor takes on a new client, Jessica, it doesn’t take long before she realises it could well be her who needs the help, not Jessica. As her new client seems to know a scary amount of stuff about her and her friends’ lives, things nobody else should know. I was always wondering what kind of trouble and danger could, and would, Jessica cause to Eleanor, Karen and Bea, and this didn’t disappoint.

The book is intriguing from page one although it did take me a little while to really get into the story. I love short chapters, and the author writes them really well, making every little detail count, but short chapters and character changes together took me a bit of time to settle into as I tried to get to know each of the four main characters of which none, to me, were particularly likeable but incredibly fascinating as we discover their secrets. Although I struggled to warm to any of the characters, this did not stop me connecting with the story and being completely engrossed in their lives and wondering what was going to happen to them. The last two thirds of the book had me completely hooked.

The further I got into the book, the more I loved it. The slow-building tension and unease was fantastically done and had me desperate to read more and find out more. The quick chapters added to the unputdownable feel to the book, as there was always time to squeeze in one more chapter – that is, until it’s the middle of the night and you’re still up reading. The twists were great, shocking and very satisfying. There was plenty to work out in this book and it was lots of fun guessing and seeing if my suspicions were right – some were, but mostly they were dead wrong.

Before I Let You In in an intelligent psychological thriller, well-paced and completely enthralling. The pacing of the story had me on tenterhooks all the way through and this isn’t a book that gives things away too early or reveals the twists too soon. Every little twist was executed skilfully and had me desperate to read on and see what would develop, and this continued right to the final page. The character development also had me fascinated. Throughout the course of the book, I felt we’d been allowed to really get to know each of the three friends and I had a much better understanding of them by the time I’d finished the book.

Overall, I found Before I Let You In to be a sharp, tightly plotted and engrossing psychological thriller which gradually became impossible to put down. After reading this, I’m looking forward to going back and reading Jenny’s debut, How I Lost You, which has been sat unread on my Kindle for far too long now.

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