The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

I recently received a sampler of the first fifty pages of The Girl Before, and almost had a full blown tantrum, so great was my need to read the rest of it. Happily, Quercus were kind enough to grant my NetGalley request, and I tore through the remainder of the book in a day and a night.

I’m a sucker for a thriller with a unique premise, and The Girl Before certainly met the mark. Our heroine is Jane, recently unemployed and in need of a drastic change after losing her unborn daughter. Along comes a property that sounds too good to be true – the ultra minimalist, high-tech, low-rent architect’s dream, One Folgate Street. There are a few slight drawbacks – a strict list of rules imposed by the landlord (no changes, no cushions, no rugs, no mess – and most horrifyingly of all no books, the madman) …oh, and the previous tenant died in the house under mysterious circumstances. So par for the course for the London property market really.

There are a lot of twists and turns, and the book is full of well-paced revelations. Jane’s story neatly intermingles with that of Emma, the previous tenant. At times they become almost interchangeable, but this stems from the story’s revelations rather than sloppy writing. Towards the end of the book, twists start to come so thick and fast that their impact is somewhat dulled. One or two of them alone might have had more strength, but by the end I found it difficult to connect with the main cast.

Still, there’s a lot of promise in The Girl Before, and it’s been a while since I read anything so difficult to put down – always a good sign in a thriller.

[Read from 9-10 December 2016]

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