Saturday, 28 January 2017

The Girl Before - J.P. Delaney

A Girl Before by J. P. Delaney
It's been a while since I read a good psychological thriller, so I was excited to get a copy of The Girl Before through Netgalley.

The Girl Before

A damaged young woman gets the unique opportunity to rent a one-of-a-kind house. When she falls in love with the sexy, enigmatic architect who designed it, she has no idea she is following in the footsteps of the girl who came before: the house’s former tenant.

The eerie parallels in the two girls’ lives lay bare an enthralling story…and make this novel the must-read thriller of the season.

Everything that is yours, was once hers . . .
Enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection . . . but can you pay the price? 
For all fans of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN and GONE GIRL comes this spellbinding Hitchcockian thriller which takes psychological suspense to the next level.
Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there - and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma's past and Jane's present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

My Review

For me, the sign of a good psychological thriller, is one that you can't put down, even though you know that the more you read, the more likely something bad will happen. I started The Girl Before, yesterday and finished it this morning. It is a cliche to say that you couldn't put a book down, but I really wanted to know what was going to happen. 

The story is told through alternating view points, Emma, who lived in the house previously and Jane, who is the current resident. We soon discover parallels between the two women; from the way that they look to the things that happen to them. Jane becomes more and more interested in Emma and more importantly, what happened to her and who was to blame.

Everyone that Jane meets has a different view of Emma and what happened, but which is the right one? There were lots of twists and turns as the story unfolded, some that I saw coming and others that were a surprise. 

I haven't read the Girl on the Train or Gone Girl, so I can't comment on whether this book is similar or not. Personally I tend to prefer books to stand on their own, rather than claiming it's like something else. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing as the story unfolds in The Girl Before.

There were some aspects of the book that didn't really work for me. I was a little put off with the way that rape was used as part of the plot. I see what the author was trying to do, adding to the confusion surrounding who to believe, but I think that it could have been done just as well with something else, without adding to the fiction that perpetuates rape culture in modern society.

On the whole this was a fast paced, exciting, well written and enjoyable read. I did guess what was going to happen a few times, even towards the end of the book, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment. (I do sometimes like to guess the ending and get it right, it makes me feel clever.) I look forward to reading more by this author and would recommend this to anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers.