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Friday, April 06, 2018

Twisty Psychological Thriller Asks What is Real?

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

As a war reporter with a finely-honed sense of danger, Kate Rafter knows something sinister is going on in the house next door.  Having just arrived back in England after a harrowing stint in Iraq, the 39-year-old is in Herne Bay to settle the estate of her recently deceased mother.  The last thing she expects is to find herself entangled in someone else's domestic drama, but when she meets the woman next door—an Iraqi refugee, who's obviously terrified of something—Kate's Spidey senses start to tingle.  Although Fida Rahmani insists she's not being abused by her husband, Kate doesn't believe her.  When she hears a child crying in the night and sees a young boy lurking in her mother's garden, she becomes even more convinced that Fida—who claims to have no children—is lying.  Kate has spent her life fighting injustice all over the world; why won't her neighbor accept her help?

No matter how much Kate tries to convince people Fida is in danger, no one will believe her.  They insist the little boy is a figment of Kate's imagination, a hallucination brought on by a horrific tragedy she witnessed in Syria.  Despite the medication she's taking to keep them at bay, the effects of her PTSD have become overwhelming and debilitating.  Still, Kate knows what she's seen is real.  It has to be.  Doesn't it?  Because if she's making it all up, then she's done.  Her career will be over and what will she have left?  An empty life of loneliness and pain, with an alcoholic sister who hates her and tainted memories of the mother she thought to be a saint.  If that's all that remains then Kate really will go crazy.  To prove she's not insane, the intrepid reporter will have to dig for the truth, a truth which may only exist inside her war-ravaged mind ...

Ever since I heard about My Sister's Bones, a debut novel by Nuala Ellwood, I've been dying to read it.  I dig stories that keep me off-balance, constantly wondering what is real and what is not.  This twisty psychological thriller fits the bill for sure.  Eerie and engrossing, it's one of those books that you just can't stop reading.  Not only is the plot taut and tense, but Ellwood's depiction of a war reporter suffering from PTSD (which is inspired by her father's experiences) remains both fascinating and heartbreaking.  The twist at the novel's end blindsided me completely, taking an unexpected turn which left me feeling even more shook.  Although My Sister's Bones gets dark and disturbing, I found it to be can't-look-away compelling.  I didn't absolutely love it, but I liked it enough to be eager for more from Ellwood.  I'll definitely be interested to see what this intriguing new author does next.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for strong language, violence, blood/gore, sexual content, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of My Sister's Bones from Target with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.


  1. This one sounds interesting. I'm sorry you didn't absolutely love it, but I'm glad you liked it anyway.

    1. To be fair, there are few books that I COMPLETELY love :)

  2. There you go again, adding books to my tbr pile! ;)

    1. Bwahahahaha! Just returning the favor :)

  3. I remember reading about this one and then didn't follow up. Thank you for reminding me. I notice my library has it and I've put it on hold. Now, I also see that the author has a new book out in early September called The Day of the Accident. Yes, you may thank me. Ha! Ha!

    1. Thank YOU! I hadn't heard that news yet. I'll have to see if I can get my hands on an early copy :)

  4. Adding this one to my TBR list! Thank you

  5. This one sounds intense!

  6. A book you can't stop reading and a good twist??? I'm in!

  7. I think my daughter would like this. She can take twisty psychological thrillers better than I can. :-)


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