Margot Lewis is the agony aunt for The Cambridge Examiner. Her advice column, Dear Amy, gets all kinds of letters – but none like the one she’s just received:
I don’t know where I am. I’ve been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I’m afraid he’ll kill me.
Please help me soon,
Bethan Avery has been missing for years. This is surely some cruel hoax. But, as more letters arrive, they contain information that was never made public. How is this happening? Answering this question will cost Margot everything …
”’I just can’t see my way through to the end, now, not at all. It’s a labyrinth.’
‘Well, yes,’ he said, ‘but the thing about labyrinths is that you’re always at your most lost just before you get to the centre.’”
There’s a million and one different psychological thrillers out there on the market right now so it’s really difficult market to succeed in. Callaghan definitely gave it her best shot but just missed the mark, in my opinion.
Margot is definitely one of my favourite characters in a long time. Yes, she had some crazy bullshit back story with heroin and nuns, but she was also not that annoying! I often find female characters in thriller novels to be complete pussy’s when it comes to whatever crazy shit life is throwing at them, but Margot manages to be realistically brave and scared at the same time which I find makes this book a whole lot easier to read. I find there nothing worse than reading about a character who acts like a pre-teen the whole goddamn time, A.K.A Apartment 255. So congratulations Callaghan, you succeeded in making me actually like a character… but only for the first half. After that Margot got a little whingy and pathetic. Yeah she’s just had some pretty fucking mental news and yeah I don’t think I could fully understand it to begin with but you know, she was very matter-of-fact about not wanting to be of any assistance. Even when she said she’d assist she wasn’t assisting!
Martin was definitely the more interesting and likeable character. (Though really? Dark haired, hairy, piercing green eyes and muscles? Really?) Also, I found it a little odd that him and Margot were having lunch with each other, casually, like old pals, by the second meeting.
While I found this book pretty exciting and I liked the very occasional changes in POV, it did get a little silly towards the middle/end. I don’t like it when people say “I didn’t like this book because it was unrealistic” because isn’t that what books are written for? To help us escape from our own realistic and often boring lives and take us away to something ridiculous and exciting? So while I did think this book had become a tad unrealistic, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t any good. When something gets really over the top, combined with bad writing and boring characters (Baby Doll) it can make a bad book, but when everything else is a-OK the silliness adds an extra spark to the story, and that’s how I felt about it in Dear Amy. It was an extra spark, not something that dragged me out of the story because it was “unrealistic”.
By the second half of the book I felt the like the quality of writing slipped a little. The chapters seemed to jump all over the place and I was often confused about whose POV I was reading until a couple of paragraphs into the chapter. By the end this became just like any other thriller out there and that’s what really brought this book down for me. It was all too cosy for my liking.
Overall this is a page turner to say the least and is a very fun story. It’s silly and a bit OTT but was a still a nice book to travel with because it didn’t require much of your brain. I think if it had continued the way the first half was leading it, this book could have easily been one of my favourite thrillers in a long time, but unfortunately the lazy story telling of the second half really let this novel down.
Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for the opportunity to read this book.
Edition Published: 2016, Penguin
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Goodreads Av. Rating: 3.59