I’ve been trying to get my hands on this book for awhile, and I must say I was pretty excited when I finally came across it in the ‘new releases’ section at my local library. After further research, I realized this is a first, debut, novel for Monaghan (I especially love debut novels, by the way), though I might have guessed since I couldn’t find any other works by said author. So, let’s get down to it.
David and Tara have just moved into their beautiful house and are expecting a baby. Finally settling down with her ex-college professor has always been Tara’s dream – she was sure he is the one since a long time ago. However, as the reality of being with one man for the rest of her life starts setting in, she decides to have one last fling with who other than Ryan – her ex-boyfriend, who incidentally happens to be the builder-supervisor in charge of constructing their dream home! This is where things start getting interesting as we begin unraveling the deceit. To add to that, David discovers their illicit encounter, and confronts Ryan, and… things happen in the process.
This is your typical domestic noir psychological thriller chuck full of lies, deceit, scandals, flings, a ‘stolen kiss between illicit lovers in the dark corners of the house’ type of novel. All the elements one would expect from such a genre are there. What sets it apart is that it is very well written – scenes are descriptively written and quite creative in the use of imagery. Monaghan doesn’t patronizingly make use of long-winded complex sentences that are difficult to understand, but at the same time he shows you the set-up of the atmosphere, the scene, rather than tell it to you. The unexpected twists are spread out nicely over the middle of the book as well as towards the end. I couldn’t help reading on as I really wanted to find out what happened – again, signs of a good storyteller. Hints are dropped periodically, keeping that nagging doubt in your mind firmly where it belongs.
Just as the back page of the novel says – A thriller for fans of The Couple next door (review here) and books by Rachel Abbott – this debut was a commendable effort. My only complain is that the ending seems to tie everything up too nicely, even ending with a rather cheesy chapter. Sometimes I prefer when things are a little darker a little more noir, morally ambiguous, and so on. I know, I know, not everyone gets me.
Rating: 4.5/5 (Descriptive writing but yet easy to read. Addictive premise. Slightly lackluster ending)