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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 20 May 2015
This is definitely a lesser entry in the Glaister canon. She writes as well as ever and I think she is incapable of producing a bad book but this is simply too derivative and loosely structured to be very effective. As soon as the plot kicks in you know it will end in tears, it's just a question of whose and why. Babes in the Wood, Bluebeard's Castle, The Collector and The Magus all act as inspiration or model and I'm sure there are others. Glaister lays it on thick portraying the protagonists as naive, and overly focused on their own troubled relationship, but even so they would have picked up on the clues amply scattered through the book about what their employer is up to. The denouement is artificial and the ending contrived.
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on 26 April 2004
For much of the reading of this book I could barely bear to turn thepages, but at the same time, I couldn't put it down. It is quite thesimply the most breathlessly exciting story I've read in ages, as sexy andvivid as it is chilling and disturbing.
The tale begins with a job advertisement in a paper, asking for a coupleto help run an old sheep station in a remote part of Australia. Cassie andGraham take the job in a bid to save their troubled relationship, but theyare about to find out what 'trouble' really means. As soon as they arrive,there is the strong sense that things aren't going to run at all smoothly.Larry is too clever, too clean, and his 'meaty' wife Mara seems to spendher days sedated and sweaty in a shed. There is a uneasy feeling ofmalevolence and claustrophobia in their surroundings, despite the beautyand expanse of the outback. And if the interaction between the four maincharacters is awkward to begin with, it quickly escalates to a primalhotbed of desires and hatreds and fears, leading to breathless andshattering consequences.
This book is an erotic and psychological thriller, but there is also ahorror story quality about it. Glaister mixes a good dose of dark humourinto the novel too, alleviating the fright-factor with quaint Englishtouches. She has an amazing insight into what makes people tick, makingher characters more believable, and this, in turn, cranks up the tensioneven more.
This is a thrilling book that I highly recommend to any reader who likes abit more bite to their bedtime stories.
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on 30 July 2005
A sinister and intense story of voyeurism and manipulation, 'As far as you can go' will keep you awake at night - if not out of fear then out of an unstoppable need to turn the last page.
A young British woman, Cassie, answers an advert asking for a couple to spend a year at a remote farmstead in outback Australia to work as housekeepers and companions to a man and his wife. She persuades artist boyfriend Graham to embark on the adventure in the hope of testing his commitment to her following an infidelity. On arrival, however, their total isolation comes as a shock, they send but never receive any letters, and they find themselves increasingly prone to paranoia and a feeling that they are being 'watched'.
Creepy boss Larry seems to be keeping secrets from them, including the reasons for the departure of their predecessors and the real nature of his wife Mara's alleged mental illness. Meanwhile, Mara is exiled to a converted shed where she lives in virtual darkness - apart from her occasional naked jaunts into the outside world where her tranquillized state becomes obvious.
When Larry quizzes Cassie about her 'test' of Graham's reliability as a boyfriend, and offers her pharmaceuticals to help 'stabilise' his personality, the reader starts to get a sense of quite how disturbing Larry's character is. And Graham is being 'tested' enough as it is - Mara has demanded painting lessons from him, and he has discovered that she doesn't want to paint, she wants to be painted - and not on canvas, on her body.
Things get increasingly strange and tense as the story unfolds and the reader races to find out what's really going on in Larry's head and behind his locked doors.
The languid state of some of the characters at times in the story contrasts sharply with the pace at which the tale unfolds, and the reader's own urge to turn the pages and find out what happens next.
The characters are all equally plausible, and the novel's oppresively hot setting provides the perfect backdrop to this steamy, claustrophobic tale. You feel like you are there with them, and that you'd rather be just about anywhere else.
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on 8 July 2007
I absolutely loved this book. The slowly building sense of menace is extraordinarily effective and that, combined with the oppressive dusty heat of the situation this couple find themselves in, make for a very intense and claustrophobic read. And when you think you've got to the climax of the book; you haven't. You know when you read one of those books that is so hypnotic you even forget about your own surroundings? This is one of those. Terrific.
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The book follows an English couple, Cassie and Graham on an adventure of a lifetime. Cassie and Graham move to Australia to work in the outback for a year. Cassie is hired as a cook and Graham to support a woman with mental health needs, with art. Very slowly, Cassie realizes that things are not what they seem.

I found this an incredibly weak psychological thriller, with little in the way of fear or menace. When I say little, I mean none at all. I spent most of the book day dreaming of alternative chilling Hannibal style twists.

The first half of the book moved at a snail's pace. The perspective of the drama came from the couple, as they adapted to the strange isolated environment and too much time was spent on this. I became impatient for anything to happen. In the second half, I could see how the couple were being manipulated. This was ruined by a poor ending. I would have preferred something horrible to have happened to Cassie and Graham.

I was totally disappointed overall. This book had a great deal of potential, but ultimately lacked pace and had no real sense of fear. Such a shame!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 December 2009
This was an unusual book with a slow forming tension. Things don't seem quite right and the feelings of unease and dread build throughout the book. The pace quickens towards the end as you're desperately trying to discover what happens next.

I did think that the main protagonists were rather naïve to go in the first place and felt little distracted by the lack of clarity on the time setting. Somehow the period felt old fashioned (even the early part in the UK, before they even get to the outback) and it could have been the 50s. A mobile phone is mentioned and the lack of e-mail later on, so this is a modern day setting.

The story feels very sinister throughout and between reads I often found my thoughts pondering the strange scenarios in the book. Glaister conveys the oppressiveness of the environment and the situation very well and it is quite a vivid book.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 September 2009
Cassie wants her boyfriend Graham to show some commitment before they settle down together and have a baby. Graham's not sure he wants to settle down at all, but he is madly in love with Cassie. In the past this hasn't stopped him having casual flings with other women, but can he give it all up for her?

As a way of testing him Cassie gets them jobs in the Australian outback, she as cook, cleaner and nurse to Mara, the mentally disturbed wife of Larry, Graham as a general handyman. The place is in the middle of nowhere and gradually Cassie and Graham's misgivings turn into a creeping unease. Is Mara really mentally disturbed? And what happened to their predecessors? Why does Larry keep most of the house locked up while she and Graham live in a converted sheep-shearer's bungalow? Why does there seem to be no radio, and is Larry really a doctor? The questions mount up and there don't seem to be any answers, until Larry goes too far.

This is a gothic tale but told with refreshing down-to-earth believability. Cassie and Graham are especially credible and there are bit-part players too that ring true in their setting. Larry is, in the end, much more dangerous than he seems, though alarm bells do ring about Larry before they are even in Australia. Could Cassie be quite that naïve?
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on 15 June 2017
Read this book years ago - one of those books you don't forget!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 April 2010
If you are planning a trip to the Australian outback, you might want to give this book a wide berth! For everyone else, it's highly recommended.

Cassie and Graham's relationship is not really going anywhere. Then Cassie sees an advert for a job on an Australian farm and they decide to go for it. This might not have been such a great plan! You can feel the isolation and heat of the outback in this gripping and tense book - they are cut off from the outside world and modern communications (handy, that - but a believable scenario) so when their employer Larry and his mentally disturbed wife, Mara turn out to be not quite what Cassie and Graham are expecting, they are trapped. When Larry suggests that Cassie apply some personality altering medication to achieve what she wants from Graham you know it's gone too far.

Glaister's plotting is superb and she's particularly strong on relationships (as evidenced in her other books) and this is a frightening and gripping ride. It's one of my favourite Glaister books - and that's high praise as she is always reliably thrilling as a writer.
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on 21 December 2008
Phew! Fantastic novel, have to recommend this to all who enjoy a good thriller.

Cassie is just desperate to 'do' something else, and replies to an advert in the newspaper for a couple to join a remote outback sheep station in Western Australia. Her partner is a bit of a no hoper who can't seem to concentrate on a one woman relationship or one thing she knows he's good at, his painting. She needs to see if Graham is really for her as she wants to settle down and start a family. What better way to find out than to get him away from all the distractions in England and spend some quality time in OZ? Cassie hates to leave her family behind but feels the pull of adventure and a different, more simple taste of life. After all it's no problem to pull out and come home to the UK if they don't like it - isn't it?

The story really worked for me as the Austrailian outback is not something many people are familiar with. The story could and did develop into a tight, gripping thriller with a sexy undertone. As it wasn't based in middle England the 'unknown' variety of creepy crawlies and unexpected problems they came across made it more interesting. Their employer was well developed and made MY skin crawl! Glaister used the outback and it's pitfalls to pour forth an excellent thriller that unexpectedly pulls you in and makes you turn the pages with ever more fervour and wide eyed excitement!

I am now looking for more of the same from this Author although I believe she doesn't always write thrillers, if the writing is as high a standard as As Far As You Can Go; I would be willing to read it!
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