Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Girlfriend

The Girlfriend by Sarah Naughton
Sourcebooks Landmark: 3/6/18
eBook review copy; 368 pages
ISBN-13: 9781492651246

The Girlfriend by Sarah Naughton is a highly recommended psychological thriller with a twisty plot. (It was published in the UK as Tattletale.)

When news reaches her of her brother's accident, Mags, a high powered lawyer living in Los Vegas, flies back to London. Abe fell from down the stairs from outside his apartment on the fourth floor of the converted church where he lives. He is now in a coma and his outlook is not good. Apparently the only witness was his neighbor and devoted girlfriend, Jody, who Mags meets at the hospital. Something about Jody is odd... off, and Mags doesn't believe that she is telling the truth or was the only witness in the building. She doesn't believe that Abe's fall was an accident or that he tried to commit suicide. Mags is sure that there is more going on than anyone is telling her and she's going to get to the bottom of it. She moves into Abe's apartment and starts investigating, beginning with his neighbors in the converted church.

Chapters alternate between characters, including Mags, Jodi, and Mira, a woman living next door to Abe who may know much more than she is willing to say. Chapters also switch to different time periods, but it is easy to follow what is happening and distinguish the past from the present. There are a lot more secrets being held than what happened to Abe, and Mags may need to uncover them while keeping her own secrets. But with all the secrets, is anyone telling the truth. More importantly, are any of these characters reliable?

It is a very well-written twisty novel of suspense and the tension increases incrementally with each new step in the plot. The Girlfriend is full of basically unreliable and, for the most part, unlikable characters, who are keeping secrets, but, after a slow start, it did hold my attention to the end. Even though during several scenes I knew where the plot was going long before Naughton headed that direction, the journey was still full of suspense.

There is an opening scene that will seem incongruous to the rest of the novel, but stick with it and it will make sense. (There are several jumps back and forth in time, although the others are placed in context more than the opening scene.) There are also a few other scenes where you may be shaking your head and mumbling something about these people being seriously messed up, and they are, but keep with it.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Sourcebooks Landmark.

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