By: Alex Dahl
Published Year: 2018
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion.
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): This riveting psychological suspense debut by Alex Dahl asks the question, "how far would you go to hold on to what you have?"
Cecilia Wilborg has it all--a loving husband, two beautiful daughters, and a gorgeous home in an affluent Norwegian suburb. And she works hard to keep it all together. Too hard...
There is no room for mistakes in her life. Even taking home a little boy whose parents forgot to pick him up at the pool can put a crimp in Cecilia's carefully planned schedule. Especially when she arrives at the address she was given
and finds an empty, abandoned house...
There's nothing for Cecilia to do but to take the boy home with her, never realizing that soon his quiet presence and knowing eyes will trigger unwelcome memories from her past--and unravel her meticulously crafted life...
Honestly, I’ve been a bit burned out on psychological thrillers lately, so I wasn’t drawn to this book at first. The cover isn’t great and didn’t catch my eye and the title is a bit bland. However, the summary sounded interesting and I have always found that Scandinavian mysteries are enjoyable, so I decided to give it a chance.
What I thought
When Cecelia is asked to take home a boy left behind at the swimming pool, her life changes. The boy ties to secrets from her past that she has spent years hiding to create the perfect life.
I always forget just how hard it is to review thrillers without giving anything away. I’ll try to focus more on the characters and the writing than the story itself.
Cecelia is a bit of what has become the standard female protagonist of a psychological thriller. By that I mean, unlikeable, unreliable, and hiding a deep dark secret. I did appreciate that she had enough dimension to her that I sympathized with her throughout the story. Even though I didn’t like her and disagreed with a lot of her actions, I still found myself understanding why she was acting the way she did.
I wasn’t crazy about the writing style. I found it to move slow and then once it did start to pick up, the chapters would switch perspective. Most of the time the story was told from Cecelia’s perspective. Chapters from Tobias’s perspective (the young boy that was left behind at the pool) were randomly interspersed throughout the story. Then, there were also diary entries from Annika, the drug addict who was in charge of Tobias. While I found the diary entries interesting, I felt they were a bit long. I didn’t find that they added much to the story itself other than to create a reader connection with Annika. It felt a little bit like reading two stories at the same time. I enjoyed Annika’s story on its own, but found myself skimming parts of it to get back to the main story.
When I did get back to the main story, I didn’t find myself completely sucked in. It was relatively predictable with only small parts that surprised me. The surprises weren’t even ones that made me gasp, more like a small “huh.” Dahl did hold my interest in the story as I was curious how it was going to wrap up. I wouldn’t call this an edge of your seat thriller, but it was an interesting story.