Thank You very much to the publisher – Quercus Publishing and Net Galley for the review copy.
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Release date: 24 07 2018
Price*: Kindle £6.49 (GBP)/ Hardback £5.99 (GBP)
Kindle $8.51 (USD)/ Hardback $21.52 (USD)
Pages: ~ 400
My rating: 10/10
You can get this book here:
What I learned from this book: I learned a lot about behind the scenes of acting/actors.
Description of the book: 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?
How this book made me feel: I read the first book – The Girl Before (review here) and was really impressed with this author’s writing and imagination, so it was a no-brainer when this book appeared on Net Galley. And as I expected, J. P. Delaney has done a great job once again.
The protagonist in this story is Claire, an extremely talented, but very unlucky actress. Due to the lack of green card and work, she is forced to work as a decoy in catching out cheating spouses. Until one dies. Who is the killer? Is it Claire? Is it a victim’s husband? Or is it someone else altogether? You will have to read it to figure that out! 😛
This book has a very interesting variety of characters, we have elegant and artistic actors; classy, intelligent and very poetic victim’s husband, and like always, insightful police. But the real star in this book was Claire. Her ability to transform into different characters was absolutely stunning, and I really loved that she shared how these transformations made her feel. I think it was a great insight into actor’s psyche.
The narrative always kept me on the edge. There are so many twists and deception, that you never know what to expect next. Sometimes it feels, that the plot is slowing down, but that is just a very creatively incorporated “quiet before the storm” phase. 😉 The narrative was told from a single perspective, but that was necessary to keep the suspense going, and it was fully sufficient for me. This novel discusses quite a variety of topics, such as foster families in the UK; actor’s struggles in the market; kinky sex community; mental institutions and their work methods; art, and when it becomes a danger to society; etc. Due to this wide variety, the plot didn’t have the chance to be boring for me. 🙂
I really enjoyed the writing style of this book, it was very insightful and creative. The ending was absolutely mind-blowing, it left me absolutely baffled. I had to sit down and rethink all the plot, to figure out what was real and what was the illusion. The chapters are pretty short, and once I started, they just flew by. 🙂 I liked that the setting of this book was constantly changing, that created more intrigue to me, as a reader.
So, to conclude, it is a very artistic, poetic and sophisticated psychological thriller, where suspicions and illusion plays an integral part. I absolutely loved the complexity of the characters and unexpected turns and twists, that is why, I strongly recommend to read this book, and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂
About the Author: Tony Strong also writes under the pseudonym J. P. Delaney. Tony Strong was born in 1962 in Uganda, though his parents came back to the UK when he was six weeks old. He read English at Oxford under the playwright and poet Francis Warner and then went on to work as an advertising copywriter at Ogilvy and Mather, an agency which had already bred writers such as Salman Rushdie and Fay Weldon.
Tony Strong has made more than thirty television commercials, including the celebrated BUPA ‘You’re Amazing, We Want You To Stay That Way ‘ campaign, and the American Express campaign. He has won a BAFTA for a campaign aimed at reducing solvent abuse – one of the very few drug abuse campaigns that have ever been shown to have a measurable effect. Tony Strong was recently poached by Abbot Mead Vickers, whose main account is British Telecom. He has published four novels: THE POISON TREE, THE DEATH PIT, THE DECOY and TELL ME LIES. THE DECOY has been bought for film by Twentieth Century Fox for Arnold Kopelson. TELL ME LIES was recently adapted by Granada Television into a series entitled LIE TO ME. He has also written under several pseudonyms, including Anthony Capella.
*-the price was taken from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com on the current date. The price might change at the time of your purchase. The links used in this post for book purchases are affiliates.