Annie over at The Misstery
Be sure to check out Annie’s (and every other blogger previous) review too!
Title: The Girl Before
Author: J.P. Delaney
Published: January 26th 2017
Genre: Adult, Thriller, Mystery
Length: 416 pages
Source: NetGalley eARC and Hardback from the Publisher
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
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.
Following in the footsteps of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, The Girl Before is being brought to the big screen. The film is set to be directed by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard.
I read a sample of this book on NetGalley and was immediately hooked. I couldn’t wait to pick it up and find out what happened to the people I had become so invested in. This book did not disappoint. It was one of the best thrillers I’ve read in a long time and is already one of my favourite reads of the year – I have a feeling it’s going to be very hard to beat.
One Folgate Street is special. To live there you have to abide by the architect’s rules – and there are many of them. Jane is suffering from the loss of her child, who was stillborn, and looking for a fresh start. Before her, Emma lived there. She was struggling to come to terms with a burglary that had happened at the flat she shared with her boyfriend, Simon. One Folgate Street was offering them both the peace and fresh start that they so craved. So how could things have gone so wrong?
I cannot say enough how utterly brilliant this book is. Both the past and the present weave together to create an intricate mystery that the reader becomes so embroiled in that they forget that the characters aren’t particularly likeable. I was fascinated by Monkford’s background, the events that had led to him being the reclusive, obsessive architect that he was. I was convinced, just like Emma and Jane, that he had done something terrible in his past and I was just waiting for the girls to prove me right.
While the intrigue was brilliant, the characters were excellent. It’s not often that I read a book and really feel indifferent or flat out dislike a character and still want to continue reading. Monkford is painted as a villain from the start so the dislike was natural there. Emma’s character slowly turns more sour and the more I read of her account, the less and less I liked her. Jane was a bit different. I liked her to begin with but then I felt her slip away into someone I wasn’t fond of and so I stopped rooting for her as much.
It’s interesting to take such unlikeable characters and still churn out a gripping thriller. Even if we weren’t particularly bothered if the girls lived or died, their journey was what kept me going. I needed answers to the questions they were asking.
I’ve seen some people point out that they disliked the book because it gave them a 50 Shades of Grey vibe. I can understand where they’re coming from, but I didn’t get that when reading. There is a lot of sexual content – with increasing dominance from Monkford – but I personally didn’t immediately jump to 50 Shades. It wasn’t particularly what I had wanted from the book, but the relationships and the dynamics are important to the point the story is making, I think. It wasn’t just there because sex.
Overall, I found I couldn’t put this one down. I’d highly recommend it to fans of thrillers and mysteries with a darker tone. Definitely one to watch this year.
About the Author
J. P. Delaney is the pseudonym of a writer who has previously published best-selling fiction under another name.
Matt at Reader Dad