Thursday, April 14, 2016

book review: 'The Girl With No Past'

It's no "Gone Girl," but "The Girl With No Past" is a suspense-filled story worth the read.

Happy Thursday, friends! Back with another book review over here, and (surprise, surprise) it's a psychological thriller. Remember when I wrote about my recent woes in finding another thriller as good as Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl? (Because obviously Gone Girl is the bar by which all other psychological thrillers are now measured.) Well, drum roll please....

This isn't it.

Sorry, had to ;) Okay, enough with the (super hilarious) jokes. The Girl With No Past is written by Kathryn Croft, who's a good writer. I won't say great because I didn't feel it was anything special or noteworthy as far as the actual writing goes, but it definitely wasn't bad either. The story revolves around Leah Mills, a 30-something woman who lives a very solitary life. She lives alone, and the only places she goes is to the library where she works quietly every day, and to visit her mother (when she's guilted into it). The premise is that Leah has a huge secret from her past that she's been hiding from for years, for fear of what will happen if it ever gets out.

The description on Amazon says Leah lives the life of a fugitive, but that isn't true, as she's never been "on the run" and she's not actually wanted for a crime. She left her hometown and doesn't really talk to anyone, and that's about it. The majority of the first part of the book is Leah telling this side of her story, and it mostly comes off as her begging for pity without telling us why she deserves it. That part was annoying to me — however, it did leave me wondering what she could have possibly done that was so bad it forced a self-imposed shunning. With this book at least, I did feel that there was a good deal of suspense. Early on, Leah meets a man named Julian on a dating site who seems interested in her.

Naturally, she can't understand why in the world a man would like her, but the thought of "a normal life" is so appealing to her that she decides to break from her normal routine and start chatting with him. From there, Leah's quiet life is interrupted by a mysterious stalker, who sends her cryptic messages about The Event and does things to let her know that s/he is watching — all the time. The messages continue, and new characters pop up in her life that immediately struck me as suspicious, but not so much with Leah. The story flows seamlessly back and forth between the present and the months leading up to The Event, which gives us insight into Leah's personality from her teenage years. She's always been insecure and probably too trusting, and even what happened to her doesn't change that.

My problem with this novel was, again, the actual event. While it was a shock when we finally found out what happened to her at the end — and honestly disturbing enough that I still sometimes think back to it weeks later — I didn't think it warranted her solitude, or what follows with her stalker. The story did get my heart pumping, but I thought it fizzled out quickly and lost its momentum at the end. I would rate this one at 3.5 stars: much better than The Fever but nowhere near Gone Girl.

Have you read Girl With No Past? What did you think? I'd love to know your opinions!

P.S. reviews of Girl on the Train and Luckiest Girl Alive

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