Elizabeth Haynes' new psychological thriller is a brilliantly suspenseful and shocking story in which nothing is at it seems, but everything is at stake.
Sarah Carpenter lives in an isolated farmhouse in North Yorkshire, and for the first time after the death of her husband some years ago and her children, Louis and Kitty, leaving for university, she's living alone. But she doesn't consider herself lonely. She has two dogs, a wide network of friends and the support of her best friend, Sophie.
When an old acquaintance, Aiden Beck, needs somewhere to stay for a while, Sarah's cottage seems ideal, and renewing her relationship with Aiden gives her a reason to smile again. It's supposed to be temporary, but not everyone is comfortable with the arrangement: her children are wary of his motives, and Will Brewer, an old friend of her son's, seems to have taken it upon himself to check up on Sarah at every opportunity.
Even Sophie has grown remote and distant. After Sophie disappears, it's clear she hasn't been entirely honest with anyone, including Will, who seems more concerned for Sarah's safety than anyone else. As the weather closes in, events take a dramatic turn, and Kitty, too, goes missing.
Suddenly Sarah finds herself in terrible danger, unsure of who she can still trust. But she isn't facing this alone; she has Aiden, and Aiden offers the protection that Sarah needs. Doesn't he?
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A pile of soft porn!
I have nothing against this narrator, and thought he did his best given the quality of the material he had to work with.
I really can't understand how this awful book got such admiring reviews. It is a clumsily written, badly constructed stalker story that simultaneously tries to scare you and to make you feel sorry for the heroine, lonely Sarah, whose husband has died, has a son who has become mysteriously alienated from her, a daughter who has left home to go to uni, and a passion for an old flame from university days. Old flame turns up again, as expected, and moves into a cottage in her garden. Things progress in a rather predictable fashion from here, with lots of gratuitous sex (I felt sorry for the poor narrator, who must have been wincing as he read) that really contributed nothing much more than embarrassment to the story. The author's odd use of the second person when writing in the voice of the boyfriend, is baffling and confusing. We learn that the son, Louis, hates his mother because he saw her having sex with one of his friends on the evening of his 21st birthday party, a few months after the death of the husband. He is revolted by her and calls her a slut, or a slapper, or something similar, and really, one has to agree with him. Sarah is not a sympathetic character, just a really stupid one. If you are being stalked by a man who lets himself into your house in the middle of the night and wakes you by sitting on your bed and breathing hard, surely it might occur to you to lock your doors? But Sarah, who in the manner of the country folk around her, never locks her doors, doesn't get this bit. Then, just to add bit more confusion to this already unconvincing tale, the old flame turned new lover turns out to be (SPOILER ALERT) a male prostitute. More sex scenes, with massages. These plot elements come together in a prolonged scene of bloodshed and general ghastliness involving Sarah and her daughter, the male prostitute, Sarah's best friend, who has been having it off with the stalker, and even the dog. No one gets off lightly, but, astonishingly, all survive the stalker's slash-and-burn tactics and live (one presumes) happily ever after.Complete rubbish. I nearly gave up half-way, and I wish I had.