Tuesday, May 13, 2014

THE BOOK OF YOU by Claire Kendal

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

I'm not sure why but I have been really drawn to novels of suspense lately. This one sounded particularly intriguing and I am baffled why more people aren't talking about it.  Claire Kendal's debut novel is a wonderful example of psychological suspense. It may even be too effective!  I had to stop reading this book at night because it was making it difficult for me to sleep!

Clarissa has a stalker. His name is Rafe. He is a professor at the university where she works.  After a regrettable one night stand with Rafe that she has trouble remembering, Clarissa can't seem to avoid him. What began as a source of irritation is rapidly progressing into something much more.  She can't seem to escape him. He is everywhere.  When Clarissa gets called for jury duty, she is relieved.  Especially when she finds out the case will last ten weeks. Ten blissful weeks in a place where Rafe can't follow.  The case, however, proves difficult for Clarissa to be a part of as the victim in the trial has experiences that parallel her own. As the trial progresses, Rafe's unwanted attention increases to the point that Clarissa begins documenting everything in a notebook. She begins to collect evidence to take to the authorities in the hope that they will help her. But Claire is afraid that help won't come soon enough to save her.

This book had me on the edge of my seat.  I couldn't put it down. One can read a serial killer book and realize that the chances of that happening are highly unlikely. I think many women understand how uncomfortable and scary unwanted attention from a man can be. It isn't always as extreme as Rafe's actions but it can be just as unpleasant. I think the best part of the book is how Kendal highlights how legal systems can fail women in these cases. THE BOOK OF YOU takes place in England but it might as well take place here in the United States. There have been cases in my own small town of women who have tried to get restraining orders and help from the authorities in order to deal with domestic abuse and wound up dead.  It is an ongoing problem.  While the ending wasn't completely satisfying, it didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the book. This would a great vacation/beach read.

BOTTOM LINE: Highly recommended.  For those who enjoy suspense, you won't want to miss this one.  The feel of reminded me of GONE GIRL although you don't have to worry about unreliable narrators in this one! The perfect pick for vacation.

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