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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins


Narrators: Michael Pennington, Laura Paton


Publisher: HarperAudio

Publication Date: 5/19/2015

Format: Audio

My Rating: 4 Stars

A brilliantly conceived, deeply unsettling psychological thriller - already an international sensation - about a woman haunted by secrets, the consuming desire for revenge, and the terrible price we pay when we try to hide the truth.

Finding a mysterious novel at her bedside plunges documentary filmmaker Catherine Ravenscroft into a living nightmare. Though ostensibly fiction, The Perfect Stranger recreates in vivid, unmistakable detail the terrible day she became hostage to a dark secret, a secret that only one other person knew - and that person is dead.

Now that the past is catching up with her, Catherine's world is falling apart. Her only hope is to confront what really happened on that awful day - even if the shocking truth might destroy her.

About the Author

Renée Knight worked for the BBC directing arts documentaries before turning to writing. She has had TV and film scripts commissioned by the BBC, Channel Four and Capital Films. In April 2013 she graduated from the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course.

She lives in London with her husband and two children. ~ Transworld Publishers

My Review

British scriptwriter Renee Knight’s cleverly crafted debut, DISCLAIMER is a twisted, dark and chilling psychological suspense which brings new meaning to “red herring” and “domestic suburban noir.” What an excellent cover depicting the true nature of the novel. Let me start off by saying, this is one addictive book which grabs your attention! You will sit up and take notice. I listened to the audio version, with a number of distractions. (A lot of rewinding) Like what in the heck just happened? Did I miss something? The British narrators, Michael Pennington and Laura Paton delivers a suspenseful performance, setting the mysterious dark mood, perfectly. Two families. Two sons. Stephen, Nancy & son, Jonathan. Robert, Katherine & son, Nick.

Let the sadistic evil games begin. Or should I say, cat and mouse? Truth or dare? Revenge. One life for another. How are these two families connected? Both families have dark secrets. Secrets from their spouses. We meet Catherine, a documentary filmmaker. She finds herself at home, picking up a self-published book “The Perfect Stranger” in the evening. While reading she is shocked beyond belief, as she recognizes herself and this appears to be her story? A dark story she has buried for the last twenty years. No one could possibly know these things. Except the one person, who was there, and he is dead. A life-threatening secret, her husband knows nothing about. She is obsessed with finding out more. Catherine is married to Robert, an attorney. Years ago they were on holiday and he had to leave, so she was left with her son. She sees a young man, a photographer. Over 20 years earlier in Spain, 19-year-old Jonathan drowns, while saving five year old, Nicholas. Someone is out there; Tormenting her. These secrets have the power to unravel their lives. Stephen is a creep. (An old crazy man), a former school teacher, a stalker, now widowed. Nancy and Stephen had a wacko marriage full of secrets. A plot. A predator. A plan. Told in alternating chapters and voices, a slow burning tale which draws you into the web of deceit, when nothing is as it appears. From erotic to sadistic, predator to prey, Mind-blowing— your head will spin! Where is the truth? What is the truth? DISCLAIMER is unique, intriguing, entertaining and unnerving. Chilling, terrifying, disturbing, haunting. dis·claim·er "A statement that is meant to prevent an “incorrect understanding” of something (such as a book, a movie, or an advertisement)." While this may not be the best psychological thriller of the year; however, very worthy of 4 stars for capturing my attention for hours, a chilling debut. It is definitely one you want to read. If you enjoyed Gone Girl and Girl on a Train, fans will relate to the female protagonist who presents a picture of perfect suburban life, while carrying a dark destructive secret. A deeply probing, intense psychological thriller. A book-within-a book. Can’t wait for book two (another psycho-thriller) and the upcoming film.

“The act of keeping the secret a secret has almost become bigger than the secret itself.” ― Renée Knight, Disclaimer

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