Publication Date: January 26th from Quercus
Source: Review Copy
Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.
It seems as if those Girls are not done with us yet, and in this case that is a really excellent thing as The Girl Before is a classic example of why these types of stories are so popular and work so well when done brilliantly. In this particular case the psychological thriller we are so fond of is done with a different vibe and a very distinctive tone.
Having a house as a main character (and it really is the central anchor here) is kind of Rebecca-esque and the two “girls” that inhabit it are both compelling characters. Most enigmatic is the architect – possibly of more things than just buildings, so the scene is set for a tense and fascinating story.
So we get told both stories in alternate timelines – Emma, the girl before of the title and Jane, the current occupant of a house that will divide opinion on whether or not you would like to live in it. Both Emma and Jane definitely do but there are all sorts of hoops to jump through and for Emma it is not going to go so well….
This is a clever, twisty and intelligent thriller that leads you down one path then another, exposes each character slowly but surely until you see who they actually are, it is a tense and fascinating build up to a finale that exposes the true colours of everyone involved. In the background, stark and watchful is this place they occupy, a modern and utterly engaging home that sounds both heavenly and irritating in equal measure.
Great writing here – really really immersive, descriptively gorgeous, utterly creepy in some parts and an honest to God page turner. Unpredictable and utterly riveting. I was bewitched.
Follow Quercus on Twitter
To Purchase The Girl Before clickety click right HERE