Latest Reads: White Bodies Jane Robins

Publication Date: 19th September (US – Touchstone) 28th December (UK -HQ)

Source: Netgalley (Touchstone)

Felix and Tilda seem like the perfect couple: young and in love, a financier and a beautiful up-and-coming starlet. But behind their flawless facade, not everything is as it seems. 

Callie, Tilda’s unassuming twin, has watched her sister visibly shrink under Felix’s domineering love. She has looked on silently as Tilda stopped working, nearly stopped eating, and turned into a neat freak, with mugs wrapped in Saran Wrap and suspicious syringes hidden in the bathroom trash. She knows about Felix’s uncontrollable rages, and has seen the bruises on the white skin of her sister’s arms. 

Worried about the psychological hold that Felix seems to have over Tilda, Callie joins an Internet support group for victims of abuse and their friends. However, things spiral out of control and she starts to doubt her own judgment when one of her new acquaintances is killed by an abusive man. And then suddenly Felix dies–or was he murdered? 

Memorable characters and a highly creepy feel to this. Admittedly the resolution was no surprise but that did not detract from the fact that this is beautifully written, explores mostly the relationship between 2 sisters who are both, frankly, all the weird and whether you want to call it a psychological thriller or not it is, for sure, an incredibly riveting character study.

It is indeed deeply disturbing, the voice that Jane Robins gives to Callie is taut, mesmerising and clear, she is a strange one but it’s possible her sister Tilda, shown to us only through Callie’s eyes, may be even stranger. Both of them are entirely fascinating, you look on in not some little awe as Tilda seemingly falls into an abusive relationship and Callie becomes more and more obsessed with that fact. This is a twisted plot indeed and nothing is more twisted in it than these two sisters – which isn’t to say you won’t fall in love with Callie because you probably will. There is such a beautiful vulnerability about her, even when she is doing the most absurd things, when her obsessive quality spills over as she becomes entangled in a web of deceit that may unravel her.

It is very difficult to review this one in a way that gets across just how indomitably clever it is – I’ve seen it called Strangers on a Train for a new generation – I guess in some ways that would be a good description. However “White Bodies” is so much more than mystery, so much more than the characters, it has that underlying emotional buzz to it that only comes along once in a while, it will make you feel odd and uneasy, like those times you think you see something out of the corner of your eye but when you turn there is nothing there.

The quality of the writing is superb, the storytelling is excellent, White Bodies as a whole is an entirely satisfying if extremely disconcerting read – I felt vaguely off kilter for hours after finishing it. The ending, external to the mystery resolution, is absolutely brilliantly placed and completely true to the rest of the narrative, no gimmicks here just a genuinely perturbing finish.

I loved every last moment of it. Every word, every chapter, from the moment I started until the moment I finished.

Highly Recommended.

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Happy Reading!

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