Tag Archives: Psychological Thriller

THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW

 

Jane enters the frame – but walking slowly, strangely.
Staggering. A dark patch of crimson has stained the top of her blouse;
even as I watch, it spreads to her stomach.
Her hands scrabble at her chest.

Something slender and silver has lodged there,

like a hilt. It is a hilt.

Anna Fox has been landlocked in her upscale Manhattan apartment by agoraphobia for nearly a year. The novel opens on a Sunday and covers a two-week period in her life.

You might think that it’s not a real hardship to be stuck in an opulent 5-story home, but sometimes the biggest prison is in our minds. Her social life is obviously constrained to visitors and online friendships. Her daily routine includes visits to Agora, a safety net website for others with agoraphobia. She uses her background as a child psychologist as a crutch to help herself as she helps others. Her online handle is appropriately, thedoctorisin. Nice background info about that issue.

Anna has very little contact with anyone in the neighborhood; most are unfamiliar with agoraphobia. She’s thought to be weird, strange, crazy and a drunk … you name it. She does have a physical therapist and a psychiatrist who treat her at home, and an obsessively private tenant renting the basement; but drop-in visitors? Not so much.

Anna is separated from her husband, Ed and their daughter, Olivia. She’s not completely out of their lives; she talks to them every day, usually in the evening – but not before she has fortified herself with several bottles of wine. While speaking to them recently and staring out the window, she observes a family moving into a vacant apartment across the street.

A short time after they moved in, Anna was surprised by visits, one by one, from all three members of the Russell family, the new neighbors in apartment 207. She notes, always in her inebriated mind, all is not right with these people! Ethan, the teenage son, seems depressed, Jane has a secret side, and Alistair is controlling.

One evening, properly stewed on booze and drugs, Anna sees Jane in the window slowly stagger backwards with what appears to be a knife in her chest. She falls out of sight as a dark patch of crimson has stained the top of her blouse. Frantically, Anna calls authorities to report a murder!

The police come to interview her. They have already responded once to an assumed problem at the Russell’s reported by Anna that turned out to be nothing. Furious that no one believes her, Anna begins a campaign to find the truth.

Here’s where the story bursts alive on more than one front…. her personal issues with her husband and the battle to prove Jane’s murder will have you holding your breath.

I hesitated to give the book 4 stars. At times the constant lengthy discussion of her addictions took away from the heart pounding part of the plot. Anna seemed to me to be a very weak character often coming across as whimpering. But in the end I did because there were times that I actually found myself nearly hyperventilating to keep up with the drama. Another plus was Anna’s obsession with classic silent films; you might want to view these yourselves.

Finally, the ending will throw you for a loop.

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I Let You Go

I Let you go cover

First Berkley | May 2016
ARC e-Reader provided
Hardcover: 384 pages
ISBN: 978-1101987490
Genre:British Crime Fiction/Psychological Thriller
★★★½

It happens in a heartbeat…
the car comes from nowhere…the squeal of wet brakes,
the thud…and the spin of his body
befoBright Red Splatter clip artre it slams onto the road…

…the car backs up the street [its] engine whining in admonishment.

Debut Authors tickle my fancy.   I just love discovering new budding authors and Clare Mackintosh did not disappoint me in crafting her first work of fiction.

Drawing on years of experience as a British crime inspector and the emotional loss of her own child, Mackintosh has fashioned a psychological thriller that will appeal to any lover of crime fiction.  First published in England in 2014, I Let You Go will make its hardcover debut in the US in May 2016.

Five year old Jacob, nearly effervescent describing his learning to write his name, races home from school tethered firmly in his mother’s grip.  As they near the house, his mother points across the street at the porch light she has left on for them.

 She releases his hand for a split-second to swipe a rain soaked hair lock out of her eye and Jacob lurches forward challenging her…“I’ll race you, Mummy…”

Detective Inspector Ray Stevens and members of his crime investigation team take on the task of finding the hit-and-run driver. A nearly impossible task with heavy rain in the area, blinding headlights highlighting the horror on the pavement, and no other eyewitnesses.

Jenna Gray, suffocating with grief, decides to packs a holdall (gym bag for us ‘Mericans) and leave.  “Can I do this?  Is it possible to simply walk away from one life and start another?  I have to try; it is my only chance of getting through this in one piece.”

Jenna aimlessly travels further and further from Bristol until she sequesters herself in an isolated small cottage in the teensy seaside town of Penfach (Wales).

As the investigation proceeds we meet the Inspector’s family and his team in greater detail. We learn the hardships and pressures that affect everyone during a long and arduous criminal investigation. The interoffice relationship between the DI and his trainee felt contrived and unnecessary. The dialogue would have been better spent, in my humble opinion, exploring his relationship in deeper depth with his wife and children.

I am leaving out some pretty heady plotlines and additional characters as I consider them spoilers. The author tackles some powerful topics that I would love to have seen her explore in greater depth. You’ll know it when you find them! I wouldn’t want to ruin your read!

Mackintosh has done a great job for her first mystery entrée.  It isn’t a masterpiece but very entertaining.  Great airplane or beach read.

She is writing her second book and I for one am standing in line with my hand raised for a chance to review it!

Thank you Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for the advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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