Book Review: Look Behind You

This is not a book by another blogger. I bought this one from Amazon for just 99 p, based on good reviews, and the usual Amazon recommendation that I might like it.

It is described as a ‘psychological thriller’, though I would probably say it is more of an old-fashioned ‘whodunnit?’. It has a crime, a victim, a few suspects, and the ubiquitous disinterested police investigator. That leaves the terrified victim having to resort to doing her own detective work, with the help of one close friend, as everyone around her refuses to believe her version of events. It builds to the usual page-turning climax, as we the reader rush to discover who is the real culprit. So, nothing new there.

The story begins with a woman waking up, trapped in a cellar. She has no idea how she got there, and no recent memory of what happened. After she manages to escape, her confusing world tumbles around her, as nobody, including her loving husband, believes a word she tells them. Slowly but surely, we get the back story, from the perspective of the heroine. A controlling relationship in an unhappy marriage. Past arguments and incidents are still there for her to recall, and it becomes clear that there was a catalyst, an event that has clouded her memories of what happened after that.

As she searches for clues, turning to friends and colleagues for sympathy and advice, it is left up to us whether to believe her, or agree with the others that everything is a figment of her imagination, and her way of dealing with grief, and stress.

Despite numerous necessary flashbacks, including memory ‘revelations’ that drive the plot, it is easy to follow, and I always knew where I was supposed to be in the story. The description of a loving relationship slowly turning to control is well done, and believable. But the appearance of a loyal friend who is devoted to the heroine felt clumsy and predictable, and despite joining those ‘page-turners’ close to the finale, I was not at all surprised by the ‘big reveal’, sadly.

Most of all, I am left frustrated that the characters in such books are always in the upper echelons of society. Chemists, Teachers, Doctors, university-educated, wealthy people who have dinner parties, and few money worries. Don’t women who work in supermarkets ever find themselves in peril? Is an unemployed person never stalked and terrified? For me, the outwardly cosy world of the upper middle classes seems to be the only ground considered to be fertile, for so many writers.

That said, for under £1, it’s a decent read, and I managed the 280 pages in just three sittings.

But I would have liked a much better twist.

Here’s an Amazon link.

18 thoughts on “Book Review: Look Behind You

    1. Thanks for the tip, Kim. I will check out that recommendation. Maybe I was expecting too much from this novel? I was eagerly anticipating a ‘left-field’ twist, and that didn’t happen. It ended with a ‘wrap-up’, where everything suddenly happens fast, so that the story can conclude.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great review 🙂 You know the scenario reminded me of something out of Roman Polanski’s Repulsion. I also agree with you that it is an annoyance when the main character is usually wealthy. I mean what about the middle and lower classes. Why not pin the scenario for one of those types. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    P.S. I just posted a new blog entry on my website If you are interested 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My characters are shop assistants, care workers, photographers, holiday camp workers, bus drivers ( oh, and the odd schoolteacher) and retired folk. I can only write about the type of people I knew. ( except the crooks – I don’t think I knew any of those.) Funnily enough I don’t often include policemen.
    I can still manage to make a lot happen!
    I must admit reading about high powered workers or lords and ladies does not appeal and no one in any of my books has ever had a dinner party ( more a picnic on the beach!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The story does sound less than inventive. Rather than drive a tired plot towards a “big reveal” that may or may not be anticipated, I think it’s better to use foreshadowing to suggest what the ending may be, and then concentrate on the story itself. I’m not all that big on so-called “page turners.” I’m more interested in creative story elements that make me want to reread a page.

    Liked by 1 person

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