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Latest ARC Reviews: Believe Me + The Death of Mrs Westaway

Latest ARC Reviews: Believe Me + The Death of Mrs WestawayBelieve Me by J.P. Delaney
Published by Quercus on July 24th 2018
Genres: Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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In this twisty psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before, an actress plays both sides of a murder investigation.

A struggling actor, a Brit in America without a green card, Claire needs work and money to survive. Then she gets both. But nothing like she expected.

Claire agrees to become a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. Hired to entrap straying husbands, she must catch them on tape with their seductive propositions. The rules? Never hit on the mark directly. Make it clear you’re available, but he has to proposition you, not the other way around. The firm is after evidence, not coercion. The innocent have nothing to hide.

Then the game changes.

When the wife of one of Claire’s targets is violently murdered, the cops are sure the husband is to blame. Desperate to catch him before he kills again, they enlist Claire to lure him into a confession.

Claire can do this. She’s brilliant at assuming a voice and an identity. For a woman who’s mastered the art of manipulation, how difficult could it be to tempt a killer into a trap? But who is the decoy . . . and who is the prey?

 

I received this arc from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 
This was without a doubt the craziest and most grossly unrealistic book I have ever read and I loved every second of it.

Claire is a struggling British actress living in New York City willing to stop at nothing to achieve her dreams (and pay the rent). Unable to get a real job due to her visa restrictions, Claire lands the role of a lifetime… luring married men to agree to affairs and catching it on film. But that’s where things get a little tricky. What happens when one man turns her down and his wife turns up dead the next day? Claire finds herself embroiled in the investigation, teaming up with the NYPD/FBI to put her acting skills to the test and bait out a dead woman’s killer. The rest as they say is not history but a mad collection of many, many, many twists and turns that will leave you wondering: what’s real? (and probably a nice helping of whiplash on top because damn, there’s a lot of twists and I’m still getting my head around it).

Steeped heavily in references to Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil, Delaney opens up an interesting dialogue on the influence of literature and media on its recipients and their actions. Can books really turn people into a psycho serial killer? In this case, it can. Sinister, alluring and complex you don’t know where this book or the killer will go next. Nothing is ever what it seems and there’s no straight road to the truth. Who can you trust? Claire is the ultimate unreliable narrator. Are we just falling for her act or is she really just a marionette on some strings? Paul is the grieving widow. Are we just falling for his sad sob story or is there really something darker beneath the surface? Delaney keeps you guessing right up until the very (explosive) end. This book may not be everyone’s cup of tea but this is one rollercoaster journey you don’t want to miss.

TL;DR: A brilliantly absurd thriller about an ambitious actress embroiled in a murder investigation where nothing is ever what it seems and there’s no straight road to the truth. Who can you trust?

Latest ARC Reviews: Believe Me + The Death of Mrs WestawayThe Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware
Published by Harvill Secker on June 28th 2018
Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Gothic
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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-- From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game comes Ruth Ware’s highly anticipated fourth novel.

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

 

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

One for sorrow, Two for joy, Three for a girl, Four for a boy, Five for silver, Six for gold, Seven for a secret never to be told.

Deeply atmospheric, and steeped in the Gothic, The Death of Mrs Westaway is by far the best book Ruth Ware has written thus far (and I say this having read all of them bar The Lying Game but I’ll assume my statement will still stand after reading that one too).

Harriet ‘Hal’ Westaway is a tarot reader at the Brighton Pier. Broke, in trouble and alone she receives a letter from a mysterious benefactor bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. With limited options and a loan shark on her back, Hal decides to fradulently claim this inheritance as her own, but when she arrives as the Westaway family home, she quickly finds herself immersed in a rich family history breaking apart at the seams. There’s something dark and sinister at bay in this family built upon betrayal and greed.

I truly cannot rave about how much I loved this book enough. Gone was your typical unreliable (and often alcoholic) narrator and instead was Hal Westaway: brazen, headstrong and determined to survive. She had depth and relatability and was such a joy to read. I couldn’t rest until I had my answers, and even though Hal’s real father was glaringly obvious from the moment she met the Westaway’s, the reveal itself was shocking and a delightful twist.

If Ruth Ware continues to write more books like this one then I will be impatently waiting for every new release because I need more books like The Death of Mrs. Westaway.

TL;DR: Deeply atmospheric, and steeped in the Gothic, Hal Westaway learns that sometimes blood isn’t thicker than water and sometimes it is. Ruth Ware’s best book yet.

Have you read Believe Me or The Death of Mrs Westaway?
Let me know what you thought in the comments below.
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