Safe With Me – K.L Slater

“Thirteen years ago someone did something very bad to Anna. Now it’s her turn to get even.
Anna lives a solitary existence, taking solace in order and routine. Her only friend is the lonely old lady next door. She doesn’t like to let people to get too close – she knows how much damage they can do.
Then one ordinary day Anna witnesses a devastating road accident and recognises the driver as Carla, the woman who ruined her life all those years ago. Now it’s Anna’s chance to set things straight but her revenge needs to be executed carefully .
First she needs to get to know Liam, the man injured in the accident. She needs to follow the police investigation. She needs to watch Carla from the shadows.
But as Anna’s obsession with Carla escalates, her own secrets start to unravel. Is Carla really dangerous or does Anna need to worry about someone far closer to home?”

What can I say about this book?  Wow, just wow!  The story begins with the hook of a prologue, an arson attack by an unknown person and then switches to the present day scene of a road traffic accident.  A biker is knocked from his motorcycle by a seemingly careless driver, and our main protagonist Anna is a witness to the whole event.  When the driver gets out the car Anna recognises her straight away, it is the woman Anna holds personally responsible for ruining her life 13 years ago.  Anna is a troubled young woman and sees this as the perfect opportunity to exact revenge and set things back on an even keel.  Anna pushes herself into the midst of Liam’s life in order to stay closer to Carla, or “Amanda” as she is calling herself now.

The story continues to switch from present day and 13 years ago, and is told from other characters’ points of view as well as Anna’s.  The further the story goes on the more Anna’s life spirals out of control, and the more irrational her behaviour becomes, as exposing Carla for who she really is becomes an obsession.  As the reader learns more about Anna, the clearer it becomes that she has some serious mental health problems.  Watching Anna’s decline is like putting a fork in a microwave and being unable to stop watching the sparks fly before completely exploding.  You know it’s coming, you know it’s going to be bad, but you just can’t take your eyes off it.  I felt deeply sorry for Anna, it was impossible not too.  Even as her behaviour was becoming more and more erratic I felt myself holding my breath, hoping things would work out for her.

There is a great mix of characters, none of who are as they first seem, all with a dark secret they want to keep hidden, having another layer of their personality peeled off each time the viewpoint of the story changes.  The writing is excellent, the story flowed effortlessly and the build up of tension and suspense was sublime.   The plot was so carefully thought out that I did not see what was coming at the end, but looking back all the clues were there, hidden in plain sight.  When an author touches on mental health problems it can either work, or be a complete disaster, but K.L Slater handled this sensitively and beautifully with Anna’s portrayal.

I cannot praise this book or author highly enough.  I absolutely loved every second of the story (as you can probably tell) and I can’t wait to read more from this author.  This book is going to be HUGE, it’s definitely my book of the year so far.  Thank you very much to K.L Slater, Bookoture and NetGalley for the advanced copy in return for an honest review.  5 stars from me, I wish I could give it more!

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