This is Tamar Cohen’s first foray into the world of psychological suspense with the story of two couples who became friends since they met when their daughters were newborns. They were ideal best friends with Dan & Josh watching football together while Hannah and Sasha went to art galleries, book clubs and shopping. So with weekends spent socialising all together along with their daughters, September and Lily, life seems perfect until the day that Dan decides that his marriage to Sasha is over and chooses to confide in Josh before telling her. From that day on the ripple effect starts working as Hannah and Josh get drawn into taking sides despite stating that they’d stay neutral.
I loved Tamara Cohen’s debut The Mistress’s Revenge because it was realistic and in turn the success of this book is because of that very reason. Many of us have witnessed the terrible things ex-partners have done to each other following a split and there was nothing in this book that felt false. I’d go as far as to say there was nothing that I haven’t witnessed in ‘real life’, just maybe not all at once! The characters are expertly drawn, and as flawed, annoying and selfish they are there is a reality about them which is breath-taking, mainly because they are the people with the social veneer stripped away and all the more scary because any one of them could be someone you know.
Interspersed between Josh and Hannah’s witnessing the fall-out from the split, along with their own views on who to believe, is excerpts of a young girl’s thoughts. These short pieces fuelled the dread I felt as the story progressed which was only marginally relieved by the sometimes witty dialogue as each party presents themselves as the victim in the sorry tale. There were times when I wanted to catch hold of all of them and give them a shake, in short I often felt little sympathy as they lurched from one insane event to the next although it soon became clear that the split had uncovered much larger demons.
I found the story chilling and although for once I had guessed the reveal at the end I wasn’t entirely sure which kept the tension levels high as I searched for clues. I really enjoyed this read I love the style of writing which doesn’t dwell too much on the why, so rooted is it on what is happening at any particular moment in time, but leaves the reader to draw their own conclusions from the unsaid as much as the said!
I received a copy of this book from the publishers Random House UK, Doubleday prior to the publication date of 22 May 2014. For a different take on psychological suspense I would recommend this book which maybe touches on real life just a tad too much.
I read Tamar Cohen’s debut The Mistress’s Revenge almost exactly three years ago and although I awarded this four stars at the time, it is a book that I remember reading and being delighted not necessarily as much with the plot as the writing. If you’d like to, you can read my review here