Before I Let You In – Jenny Blackhurst

“Karen is meant to be the one who fixes problems.  It’s her job, as a psychiatrist – and it’s always been her role as a friend.  But Jessica is different. She should be the patient, the one that Karen helps.  But she knows things about Karen. Her friends, her personal life. Things no patient should know.  And Karen is starting to wonder if she should have let her in….”

Three friends, Karen, Bea and Eleanor who are all in their thirties and have been friends since early childhood.  These three friends share the narration of this gripping and fast faced psychological thriller with an anonymous narrator who appears to know all of the friends.  They are as close as friends can be, in fact they are more like sisters, but things are about to take a dramatic turn when Jessica shows up.  She is a patient of Karen’s and it’s clear from the start that she is a bit of a “bunny boiler”.  Karen is immediately sceptical of Jessica’s self referral and motives, why would anyone pay hundreds of pounds in therapy to be as obnoxious and obstructive as Jessica is?  Her reasons for attending therapy are doubtful and Karen’s suspicions are fuelled by Jessica’s confessions that strike worrying similarities to events in her own, and her friends’ lives.  Is Jessica delusional?  Being unable to disclose any details due to patient confidentiality, Karen instead works very hard to try to prevent the inevitable car crash that is coming as all character’s lives spectacularly collide.  Can Karen save the day and protect her friends from the poisonous individual intent on destroying those she is closest to?

Having enjoyed Jenny Blackhurst’s debut novel “How I Lost You” I eagerly anticipated the release of this, and I was not disappointed.  This intense, creepy, psychological thriller sunk its claws in straight away, and did not let go until the end.  As the story unfolds you learn one of the narrators is not reliable (I won’t say which) and the story is embellished with many plot twists and turns, red herrings and even lies.  This is one of those books that messes with your head, and as more secrets are revealed you begin to question every character.  Are they telling the truth?  The ending was quite shocking as I was not expecting it, and I always like a surprise.  This book is the perfect combination of creepy and suspenseful.  Be prepared to have your mind blown with the author’s skillful misdirection throughout.

I gave this book four stars and would highly recommend that you clear your day to read this, as you will want to finish it in one sitting.  Looking forward to Blackhurst’s next novel now!

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