3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Claustrophobic and terrifying stalker story that wobbles slightly at the climax,
This review is from: The Book of You (Hardcover)
As thrillers go, this is right up there for me. Recommended by Elizabeth Haynes, a writer of psychological crime/thrillers I admire, I wasn't disappointed. Though I did have a few qualms and feel a little let down by the ending.
Plot-wise, it's simple when boiled down to the bare bones: a woman has a stalker. But Kendal adds layer upon layer to this to flesh out the story into something very dark. Clarissa doesn't quite know how it happened, but she did spend the night with her clearly smitten colleague Rafe. Barely recalling it, he now seems to be infiltrating her entire life - waiting outside her home, sending her gifts, and he knows much more about her than he should. It's a relief when Clarissa is called for jury duty and will not have to see him for several weeks. But she may have underestimated him. And the kidnap/rape case she sits on is constantly throwing up parallels with her own situation.
This is one you fly through. I particularly liked how the threat grows only gradually around Clarissa, so you can almost understand why she doesn't immediately seek help - after all, he's not 'doing' anything wrong... Though we all think we'd seek assistance if it were us, would we want to embarrass ourselves in front of friends and family? And be turned away as time-wasters by an overworked police force?
Rafe is an evil b**ger that you relish hating. Loved him (if you follow me). Could picture him as he sidles up next to Clarissa just as she thinks she's got some privacy and freedom. It feels claustrophobic, and very very frightening. The ways in which he insinuates himself into Clarissa's life is devious, smart and total.
The court scenes both worked and didn't work for me. The case is fragmented, which suits Clarissa's frame of mind and narration, being on edge and monopolised by tension and fear. We see only snippets of a case that might very well take up an entire other novel. Here it is used to highlight the similarities (or not) between two victims and how the 'system' may see and treat them. The conclusion of the court case I thought was almost tacked on as an afterthought of tying up all the loose ends, but I wanted to hear more about it.
And the ending itself of Clarissa's ordeal? The tension was racheted up and up throughout, marvellously well. You could see a big finish... And then as I was reading I realised I was already into the climactic scene without realising and had to go back half a page. Suddenly on you, it's also over in a trice with a fair bit of exposition to explain it. Hmm. It did the job, but I was expecting something more.
Overall I did enjoy it though, would have like the ending tweaked, but I did feel engrossed in the stalker story, Clarissa's claustrophobic existence and isolation, and can see it making a successful (though more direct-to-TV) film.