Published by: Faber & Faber, 3rd February 2015
Genre: Adult, Crime, Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Completed: 31st January 2016
A devious tale of psychological suspense involving sex, deception, and an accidental encounter that leads to murder. This is a modern re-imagining of Patricia Highsmith’s classicStrangers on a Train from the author of the acclaimed The Girl with a Clock for a Heart.
On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. But their game turns dark when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.”
From there, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they plot Miranda’s demise, but soon these co-conspirators are embroiled in a game of cat-and-mouse–one they both cannot survive–with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.
This book was insane, in a good way. Not as insane as Gone Girl (that’s on a whole different level) but still bloody insane!
It starts off with millionaire Ted who is at Heathrow airport waiting to board a flight back to Boston, in the Business Lounge drinking a martini and that’s where he meets a mysterious and gorgeous redhead called Lily. They get talking and Ted reveals jokingly that he’d like to kill his wife and to his surprise, Lily says she wants to help.
“Truthfully, I don’t think murder is necessarily as bad as people make it out to be. Everyone dies. What difference does it make if a few bad apples get pushed along a little sooner than God intended? And your wife, for example, seems like the kind worth killing.”
We all know that murder is lawfully wrong but Lily on the other hand doesn’t think so. She is the actual protagonist in this book. She is the most interesting character even though she is a sociopath, as we get to understand more about her backstory, including her troubled childhood. Her dad is a famous author (and I don’t remember what her mum does) anyway they often have often artists invited to her house. In particular, one ‘artist’ whom Lily was not fond of was Chet, who is a painter. Lily is a smart character but not the type of person to let anyone get away with it. She’ll have her revenge.
I enjoyed the writing style, as I could see that it was written very well and I liked how descriptive it was. There are three parts to the story with four alternating character point of views. Part one is with Ted and Lily, Part two is with Miranda and Lily and Part three is with detective Kimball and Lily. I enjoy reading different characters’ point of views, as long as the characters differentiate from one another.
The ending of part one was a plot twist! Literally jaw fell open. It caught me off guard, like what?! It was a good twist but a bit fucked up. Then I realise this book is a game of cat and mouse. Who’s going to outdo who? It was a very suspenseful page-turner with a lot of murder, especially in that last quarter! I couldn’t put it down and just needed to know what was going to happen.
The thing about most psychological thrillers I’ve read (which haven’t been many to date) is that the characters are not likeable in any sense but yet I found myself rooting for them when I shouldn’t have. No one is a good person and everyone seems like antagonist. They are all awful humans who should be punished for their crimes, but I guess unlikeable characters do make a psychological thriller worth reading.
After I finished this book, did you know what I realised? All of this could have been avoided if Ted just filed for a divorce (but then again, Miranda would have gotten to him one way or another). I don’t know why Lily bothered to be honest. Like she already said in the book, she has a good life, so why get involved? Well, she did it anyway. Damage has already been done. The ending was open to interpretation. I prefer to know what actually happened, not going to mention what my theories are because of spoilers. Overall I really enjoyed this! Highly recommend if you enjoy psy-thrillers.