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September 15, 2020

Behind Her Eyes

 


Psychological Thriller
2017 Flatiron Books
Finished on September 10, 2020
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Why is everyone talking about the ending of Sarah Pinborough's Behind Her Eyes?

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

Reminiscent of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, Pinborough's psychological thriller is a compelling and fast-paced novel. The short chapters, narrated in the alternating voices of Louise and Adele, maintain the tension between the main characters and I had a difficult time putting the book down. As noticed in similar domestic thrillers, Pinborough includes not only an unreliable narrator, but one who habitually escapes reality in a bottle of wine. I can overlook these tired tropes, but Louise's internal monologues just about had me throwing the book across the room. Without a literary device of a diary or a trusted best friend, I understand the author's need to communicate a character's thoughts and feelings with these private monologues. What irritates me is that this rapid conveyance of thoughts sounds fake and not at all the way in which we would normally speak to one another. It doesn't ring true and is a distraction to the flow of the story. That said, I wasn't as acutely aware of these monologues in later chapters; they were either less frequent or I became immune to them.

Did the ending live up to all the hype? Yes and no. I raced through the final chapters, unable to stop reading, but that finale. Geez. It's not quite a Sixth Sense or Shutter Island ending, but it definitely took me by surprise, in spite of the need to suspend disbelief on several levels.

Sarah Pinborough won't win any awards for lyrical prose, but she managed to keep me guessing and entertained, in spite of my quibbles. Have you read Behind Her Eyes? Will you watch the upcoming Netflix series? Without leaving spoilers, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I read Behind Her Eyes for the RIP XV Challenge.



12 comments:

  1. I am sure many, many people will enjoy this one. I always love a story that surprises me, but I am too scared to read any book that is even the tiniest bit frightening.

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    1. Deb, I understand and I've moved away from a lot of the super scary books. This was tense, but not creepy in a horror sense.

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  2. I've read it. Couldn't stop reading. Didn't like any of the characters. Don't like this kind of reader manipulation. Ha! Still couldn't put it down until I finished.

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  3. I wish I were more of a thriller reader. I try, mainly in the summer or depths of winter. I do like Patricia Highsmith -- I think that's her name.

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    1. Julie, it's been a long time since I've read a thriller that really impressed me. This one was hard to put down, but I didn't like the characters and the ending... well, it was quite an ending, but I won't spoil it for others. I'm not sorry I read it, but I have a feeling I won't remember much about it in another month or two. Other than the ending!

      I keep wanting to try Patricia Highsmith. I thought The Talented Mr. Ripley was a great movie and I'll bet the book is even better.

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  4. I looked back and saw that I read it in February 2017. I listened to it on audio, but I think you read it in print? It was a good audio with several narrators (or so I said in my short review). I also said that I had suspected what the ending might be, but was surprised to find that I guessed fairly accurately. And now - I remember almost nothing. Ha! Maybe I should listen to it again. I've gotten a bit tired of the psychological thrillers, but 3-1/2 years ago I was a lot more apt to pick them up. I'm taking a break from them mostly, though I did read Ruth Ware's new book. Oh, I also finished the new Louise Penny book. Loved it....and that's all I'll say. LOL

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    1. Kay, I went back and read your review and I agree with your thoughts on the book. It was gripping and I'll bet the audio was a good listen, what with all those readers. Yes, I read the print copy. Hmmm, I didn't guess the ending at all. Not even a little bit! After this one and Every Last Lie, which I finished last night, I'm ready for a traditional mystery. It's super easy to grow tired of thrillers, especially when they're formulaic, like this one was.

      I can't wait to read the new Penny book!!!!!

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  5. There's a Netflix series coming out? I really might have to give this one a try. Great review!

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    1. Jen, there is, but there's no release date, as far as I can tell. Here's a link to an article about the series.

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  6. Honestly, I thought it was halfway decent until the unbelievable elements entered the picture. I want my psychological suspense to be plausible, I absolutely hate anything paranormal, so this book just wasn't for me.

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    1. Melissa, yeah those elements were unexpected and unbelievable!

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