“Louise is a single mum, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.
When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake, but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend. But she also just happens to be married to David. And if you think you know where this story is going, think again, because Behind Her Eyes is like no other book you’ve read before.
David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife. But then why is David so controlling? And why is Adele so scared of him?
As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.”
I have read two of Sarah’s other books previously, historical crime fiction “Murder” and “Mayhem” which should have given me a clue as to where this psychological thriller was going to lead, but I was blown away as the ending took me by surprise. Everyone is talking about the #WTFthatending, and it took me a few days to digest and process the whole thing.
At the heart of the book is the love triangle between a married man, his troubled wife and the woman with whom he’s having an affair, only the triangle gets turned on its head when the two women become new best friends. Both women have more in common than their love for David though, they both suffer from night terrors and sleep disturbances which only strengthens the bond between them. Obsession, addiction, duplicity, secrets, lies and mental illness are all bound together seamlessly in this dark tale.
Told from mainly two points of view, Louise and Adele’s, the author slowly weaves a tangled web of lies and deceit. David’s wife Adele is the perfect trophy wife, beautiful, caring, polite and kind, so why does he feel the need to control her? He calls her at the exact time every day, controls her spending, prohibits her from owning a mobile phone, and most worryingly he prescribes her some pretty strong anti-psychotic drugs in order to keep her in a placid and pliable state. For Louise their marriage is like a scab she can’t stop picking, she knows it’s best to leave alone, and by interfering she will only end up hurting more, but she cannot stop.
The plot is skilfully planned, it reminds me of Hansel and Gretel. The author leaves a tiny crumb, and then another, till you are following the trail but not fully seeing where you’re going. Sarah’s prose lures you the whole way through, as you see only what you want to see. I will be honest, out of all the books I’ve read this year (over 100), none of the twists at the end have surprised me as much as this one. It’s like a double twist. You get the first shock that you may have been able to guess, then you get the second shock which had my jaw on the floor!
The characters are all quite stereotypical of the domestic noir genre, but this only adds the realistic slant allowing them to come alive on the page. I connected with Louise immediately, someone on the wrong side of thirty who takes comfort in white wine and crisps every night whilst her son is asleep in bed. Feeling bored and frustrated with her own life, she is energised by her foray into David and Adele’s lives.
This story unsettled me, unnerved me, and the last few pages made my blood run cold. Sarah has got the balance perfect in every way, this is not your run of the mill psychological thriller, this is so much more, just open your mind and embrace it. Overall rating five freaking fantastic stars 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 Thanks to Sarah, Harper Collins UK, and NetGalley.
About the Author
Sarah Pinborough is a critically acclaimed, award-winning, adult and YA author. She is also a screenwriter who has written for the BBC and has several original television projects in development.
Her next novel, Behind Her Eyes, coming for HarperFiction in the UK and Flatiron in the US (January 2017) has sold in nearly 20 territories worldwide and is a dark thriller about relationships with a kicker of a twist.
You can follow her on Twitter @sarahpinborough