Around this time of year I start to consider my Top Ten Books Published in 2017 along with many other bloggers, this year the list has been thrown into disarray with so many late entrants, including this novel. Anything You Do Say encompasses so many of the aspects that I enjoy: a moral dilemma, ‘sliding doors’ scenario, great characters who behave realistically and superb plotting all coming together to give a fresh feel despite the elements appearing in other novels.
Two friends meet for their regular Friday night out at a bar in London and meet a man who is slightly too pushy, deciding to leave they part ways and Joanna walks home taking the route by the canal when she hears someone following her. Now ladies, we’ve all been there – unable to tell whether the threat running through your head is real or imagined. What happens next will change Joanna’s life forever.
What do you do, I find myself thinking, when you think somebody is following you down a deserted strip of canal? When you could become a statistic, a news piece, a tragedy? Nothing. That’s the answer. You carry on. You hope.
Of course the title are known to all of us although I hope few of us have had them directed towards us:
The words are familiar, but it takes me a moment to place them. It’s not a hymn or a song lyric or a phrase. No. It’s a caution. The caution.
Joanna is a great character, you probably know someone like her. She works on the mobile library while she decides what she wants to do with her life. She avoids the nastier aspects of life by ignoring them; bills, decisions, babies are all put in a box to be dealt with later… or never. Her friend, Laura, has plans, big ones, she wants to be an artist and is far surer of herself by far than Joanna, not uncommon in a friendship pairing. In both scenarios that are presented following the late night encounter we see not only what the consequences of her decision has on Joanna but Laura and her partner Rueben and brother Wilf too but also Laura’s partner Jonty in a perfect example of the ripple effect.
With sparkling dialogue which is entertaining yet realistic I was drawn into the story before I’d finished the first page. I loved the friends, that pre-Christmas setting with Christmas trees sparkling inside the houses that Joanna passes as she walks home at the opening of the book is followed up with the changing seasons as we follow the two different outcomes of that night.
As much as I enjoy books with the ‘sliding doors’ aspect I won’t lie, it can sometimes be complicated keeping the two strands straight in your mind. Fear not, Gillian McAllister has a clear system for marking the two stories by using a heading and since the stories diverge from the start I didn’t have a moment’s confusion. What I did have, was compassion for Joanna, maybe that says something about my morals, but there was one particular moment when I had my heart in my mouth as things took a drastic turn for the worse and despite actually needing to be doing something else I wasn’t putting the book aside until my heart-rate settled.
I really enjoyed Gillian McAllister’s debut novel Everything But The Truth which I read earlier this year but this novel even surpasses that one. Usually when I read a book that I want my friends to read, I wait until I have posted my review – not this time – I have been urging many of my bookish friends to go get this book, now – especially as it is at an absolutely bargain price at the moment for the kindle. The paperback will be published on 25 January 2018. Whatever format you read, I urge you not to miss out but do beware, once started, you will not want to stop reading!
I am extremely grateful to the publishers Penguin UK who have provided me with a great selection of books this year, including Anything You Do Say, and Gillian McAllister who I sincerely hope is furiously writing another book for me to enjoy, this unbiased yet unashamedly gushing review is my thanks to them.
First Published UK: 19 October 2017
No. of Pages: 400
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon US (currently only Audible)
20 thoughts on “Anything You Do Say – Gillian McAllister”
I haven’t read this… I have heard about this book some time ago. Your review is making me loosen my purse strings and blow up the book budget for this month. There are a lot of good books released/releasing this month… Gawd
Ha! Review twins!
I agree with you about how this one surpasses the previous one. It’ll be incredibly interesting see what she does next. A very exciting new voice in the genre! Man, should have used that in my review. *facepalm*
LikeLiked by 1 person
I always think of great phrases afterwards too!!
LikeLiked by 1 person
So frustrating when that happens!
Loving the reviews on this book! Can’t wait for the paperback version next year 👌🏼
I’ve been hearing good things about this one, Cleo, and you’ve made it sound quite appealing. Like you, I enjoy books with complex characters, and it sounds as though that’s what these people are. The premise is really interesting, too.
Wow! High praise indeed. This is where I put on my sad face. This title is not available in Canada on Amazon in any format (but of course I would like Kindle format). I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled and will be sure to purchase a copy when it becomes available.
Another good one!
I have been wanting to grab this one. I can’t find it on Amazon US…so I guess I’ll have to wait! Great review.
I’m just enthralled at the idea of her putting babies in a box! She sounds like my kind of woman… 😉
Glad this was good! I just read Everything but the Truth a few months ago and liked it, so I’ve been curious about this one.
A cracking review – thank you so much:))
I feel like I’ve seen other mentions of this book around so you’re definitely not the only one who loves it. I hope it gets published in Canada soon, it sounds great!
Lovely review Cleo, I’m reading her first book very soon so definitely looking forward to this one now! 😁
Thank you 😊 You must – I know you’ll love it!
LikeLiked by 1 person