Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Disclaimer – Renée Knight

Psychological Thriller  5*'s
Psychological Thriller
5*’s

I’m going to start this review with a bold statement – this book will make my top ten reads of 2015. Yes it was so good that I can’t see me coming across ten other books that will beat this one.

So what’s it about? Well as with any book that depends on the reader not knowing very much before they start to appreciate the story, I can’t tell you very much! I can tell you that our chief protagonist, Catherine Ravenscroft has just moved house to a new apartment with her husband Robert when she comes across a novel. Idly picking it up the book entitled Perfect Stranger with the standard disclaimer; any resemblance to persons living or dead scored through with red pen. She starts to read and to her horror she realises it is about her, and more specifically about a secret that she has kept for the last twenty years. All the reader knows at this stage is the secret involves her son Nicholas, their less than successful son, who at Catherine’s instigation has moved into a shared house in a bid to foster some independence and responsibility into his life. Of course the questions raised by the book are what is the secret? And just as importantly who knows and cares enough to write a book about it?

Alternating with Catherine’s narrative we hear from another voice, that of a lonely old man, mourning the death of his wife, Nancy but at last determinedly clearing his house of her belongings, packing her clothes away and giving them to charity shops where he gets given cups of teas and a chance to talk about Nancy.

The reason I enjoyed this book so much was the way that Renee Knight skilfully played on my emotions, changing my opinion of all of the characters who populate this book with an ease that left me reeling. My once certain opinion swept away in a single sentence as another piece of information is casually dropped into the narrative. This is a book of suspense but not of the obvious kind, the tension is palpable and illustrated by Catherine’s actions rather than internal monologues about how scared she is, as she turns from a capable and decisive documentary maker into a scared shadow as she wonders what will follow, how far is the author prepared to go to completely destroy her life? Should she take the ending as a warning, all of these thoughts push real life to the periphery as she valiantly tries to keep the secret under wraps.

Readers that aren’t keen on protagonists they don’t like may well not enjoy this as much as I did but although many of the characters in this book behaved in a way I wouldn’t, at no point did their behaviour seem out of character, they were real people behaving in realistic ways albeit at the edge of their sanity at times and I was utterly convinced.

I’d like to say an enormous thank you to the publishers Random House UK firstly for publishing this book, and secondly for allowing me the great pleasure of reading it. Disclaimer will be published on 9 April 2015 and it is a must for lovers of psychological thrillers.

Author:

A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

49 thoughts on “Disclaimer – Renée Knight

  1. Great review, as ever – I think it’s the first one that’s given me some information about the book! I started it a couple of times, decided to wait until nearer the time of it’s release, and now we’re here I’m overwhemed by books – all really good, all essential to be read and reviewed! Aaargh! I must squeeze it in somehow!

      1. As Fleur says below, Great premise! Some of the best books recently have had simple premises – what if on your everyday commute you saw something that turned out to be connected to a murder? What if an estate agent never returned keys, and lived life vicariously through his clients? This one’s probably come from someone idly reading the disclaimer line, “bears no resemblance to anyone, living or dead…”, and thought , what if? (This makes coming up with a best-selling novel sound really easy, but OBVIOUSLY it isn’t, otherwise everyone would be reviewing my book, or Cleo’s!) But sometimes simple seems to be the best place to start, it would appear…then it gets complicated – and I get stuck…!

  2. You have definitely piqued my curiosity! I especially like the idea of the author dropping in bits and pieces of info that change how you see everything. What fun! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I found out that I had seen this one, but with a different cover. Won’t be published here in the US until May 19th. And I don’t like the US cover as much. It didn’t draw me in. Just black with red lines covering up most of the words – like a document that’s been redacted. Anyway, I’ll put it on my wishlist now. 🙂

    1. It is quite confusing when different covers are selected for different regions isn’t it? I suppose the US cover is trying to illustrate the disclaimer being crossed out whereas the UK cover links to a scene in the novel…

  4. Gosh Cleopatra, just reading your description of it made me feel quite anxious! This sounds like a book vital to be accompanied by soothing chocolate, and, possibly whilst down with a heavy cold so you can get out of all engagements which might take you away from feverish page turniing!

    1. Haha, I was just reading your review of Alma Cogan and thought it would tie me in knots from the questions you pose. This would be an excellent book for a ‘sick day’ not too sick that you can’t enjoy the chocolate though! Once it got going I simply refused to engage with the real world 😉

  5. A strong recommendation. A book that does this: “changing my opinion of all of the characters who populate this book with an ease that left me reeling” is worth checking out.

  6. This book sounds good. I really liked to dive in a story that played readers emotions with the secrets and all. Nice review!

  7. I’ve not heard of this one, so thanks so much for the review. Definitely adding this to my wishlist!

  8. Just finished it & feel desperate to talk about it – so, pleased to find you’d reviewed it – how clever Knight played with my expectation, perception & emotions…

    A simple but compelling premise very well executed. Your review captures the book well and I agree it’ll be hard to find 10 better…

    1. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed it and I take it you didn’t see where it was going either? – I particularly liked that it wasn’t a ‘showy’ book and yet it is a long time since a book has played with my emotions so much! Thank you for your kind words…

  9. Great review, you bring out some very interesting points. I had never really thought about people not enjoying a book because they don’t relate much to the character. In my case, if a character is well developed and the way they speak/think/act is according to that, then it is a good character in my book.

    Hmm that probably sounded clearer in my head. Unfortunately, I am in a hurry! Thank you again for stopping by my blog 🙂

      1. Yep, exactly!

        Besides, it’s great when you find those characters. Main ones these days always seem to have pretty much the same characteristics. For instance, in the genres I usually read (fantasy/sci-fi, some horror), every main character seems to be a teenage girl, with characteristics which to me are or get annoying, coming out of averageness and becoming a heroin, most times overnight with not much of a transition.

        So books like Disclaimer are a breath of fresh air. I cannot wait to dig into it.

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