Over the years, terrible things keep happening to Anna Ray on February 17. First, there was the childhood trauma she’s never been able to speak about. Then, to her horror, her husband killed himself on that date.
A year later and a thousand miles away, Anna tries to find solace in the fresh start of a new job in a new place. She takes comfort in her outspoken cousin Jeannie, the confidant and best friend who’s there whenever she needs help. On the day of the dreaded anniversary, Anna and Jeannie hit the town, planning to ease the pain with an alcohol-induced stupor and then sleep.…
When Anna awakes the next morning, she thinks she can put one more February 17 behind her, but fate is about to intervene in the form of two gruesome murders with eerie similarities to her violent past. This time, however, she won’t be an abandoned daughter or a grieving widow. This time, she’ll be a suspect.
The book started off really great. The dysfunctional life of Anna is portrayed beautifully and her willingness to drown out her sorrows in wine makes her come across as a completely vulnerable lead, which serves just right for the foundation of the story. The initial plot built-up sets a really interesting premise for the mystery that lingers over the alternate chapters like a heavy cloud. These chapters are often mixed with Jeannie’s 17-year-old self and Anna’s 12-year-old self. The author keeps the book really interesting with these mixed POV chapters and lays a brilliant foundation for a great psychological thriller.
The story build-up was great, and the alternating POVs and the time frames really kept it interesting. I loved reading this book and really enjoyed reading it. The pace of the book was good and I found some or the other interesting bits happening in every chapter which kept me glued to the book.
Like a good suspense novel, there were a lot of suspects that the reader could zero in on, but the ending was truly surprising. I only wish that the author would have made the motive of the murderer a little more solid as it felt a little week and it really didn’t add up with the blurb’s mysterious tone. And the fact that the date mentioned so clearly in the blurb really had no significance was a little disappointing. Nonetheless, I was totally baffled when the killer was revealed as I really liked that character. a lot!
The characterisation is excellent and all the characters have really good depth and layers and layers of traits which make them come across as real people. They are extremely relatable and likable.
The writing is also really good. The easy flow made the book a quick as well as an enjoyable read. The pace of the story was great and made it difficult for me to put down the book after every chapter. The author did a fantastic job in keeping the reader busy in the possible-suspect-guessing-game and, at the end, she really nailed it with a surprising ending.
This book is a quick read and the blood and gore were minimal, so it was a good change to read a relatively clean psychological thriller.
Opening Line: “I would already be home if I would stop turning around to stare.”
Highlights: Plot build-up.
“Sometimes all it takes for us to see things the proper way is for someone else to see them wrong.”
Nothing takes the glory out of a victory like passive surrender.
“Welcome to the Fucked Up World of Anna Shuler Ray. There’s a small, pissed-off, hand hacking butcher running around the edges of my world, and it’s the cop I’m afraid of.”
Final Thoughts: A really good and relatively clean psychological thriller.