Recently I’ve been on a bit of a thriller kick again, and read two wonderfully sinister books that I’d highly recommend: The Other Woman by Sandie Jones and What You Did by Claire McGowan.
Check out my reviews below!
The Other Woman by Sandie Jones
Emily has finally met the man of her dreams in Adam. Everything should be perfect, but lurking in the shadows, pretending to be all sweetness and light is Adam’s mother Pammie, and she’s out to get her. What Emily initially thinks is just a single mother being over protective of her son spirals and becomes ever more sinister, and she soon realises that the only thing that will satisfy Pammie, is her being gone forever…
This book did a fantastic job of slowly ramping up the tension, opening with a seemingly commonplace scene of two people meeting and being attracted to each other. Adam certainly seems like a catch, and Emily is a likeable protagonist, so you really find yourself rooting for them…
And then it all spirals from there, in a delicious descent of paranoia, deceit and mind games. Things slowly get worse and worse for Emily, and I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next.
You get such an intense sense of Emily’s isolation as Pammie deceives everyone else into thinking she’s a nice old woman, and the way she even has her own son fooled… She was just such a wonderfully complex villain, and someone you could really love to hate alongside Emily.
I kind of wondered how surprising I’d find any of this book from the outset though, as the blurb basically tells you who the main villain is. But there was actually some pretty big twists I didn’t see coming, and I loved the explosive ending. It was definitely a satisfying conclusion to the slowly building tension and sinister atmosphere of this book, and it tied everything up nicely. This was definitely one of the best thrillers I’ve read in a while, and I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking for a gripping read!
What You Did by Claire McGowan
Ali has it all: a doting husband, two beautiful kids and a wonderful new house. When she throws a reunion for a few university friends she’s looking forward to showing off her wonderful life…but things take a sinister turn when a terrible accusation is made. Ali’s oldest friend Karen says she was raped in the garden, and that it was Ali’s husband Mike that did it… But who should she believe, her husband or her best friend? And what does it all have to do with another night, long ago when something else terrible happened?
This book was definitely gripping, but I also really liked the moral conundrums at the heart of this book. Ali is vocal at the start of the book on the subject of rape, and how all accusers should be believed…but then when her husband is accused, she struggles to accept that there’s even a possibility he’s guilty.
Despite some bad decisions, I did feel for Ali throughout this book. Whilst it would be easy to call her a hypocrite, it’s really hard to put yourself in her shoes and wonder what you would do in that situation. And that, I think is the brilliance of this book: it asks some pretty heavy moral questions, and asks how well we truly know the people in our lives.
For a large part of the book I couldn’t have said whether Ali’s husband Mike did it or not, especially as there weren’t many other viable suspects. The twists kept coming though, and my sense of who was guilty kept changing, and I loved that I was kept guessing.
The ending certainly surprised me, but I felt like it was a satisfying conclusion to the story. The fact that I enjoyed this book so much, despite disliking a majority of the characters shows just how gripping it was, and I really would recommend this for fans of thrillers.
So have you read either of these books? What did you think? Are there any other thrillers you’d recommend?