The Reunion – A review

The Reunion by Samantha Hayes is my latest ” psychological thriller” read . ( More on this below…. ) . Here’s my review of the book –

Plot Summary :

Claire’s father has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and her mother is finding it increasingly difficult to run the family farm while taking care of her father . While her mother is seriously considering putting up the place for sale , Claire decides to have a reunion with her gang at the farm one last time.  She has a firm belief that revisiting old memories would slowdown the progress of the disease for her father .

But she couldn’t have foreseen that her family and friends would be forced to relive the nightmarish days following the disappearance of  her sister Eleanor – this time it’s her friend’s teenaged daughter . Claire couldn’t miss out the jarring similarities between both the disappearances….


 

Review :

I just don’t get the idea of every suspense/thriller  being marketed as ” The psychological thriller with a twist that you wouldn’t see coming ” . I guess editors read every suspense/thrillers they’re editing to see if it could be marketed as ” The Next Gone Girl ” or like that tagline I mentioned above which are super-easy click-baits for suspense fanatics like me.  If they can’t , they probably ask the writer to sketch a plot with a shocking twist ( doesn’t matter if it is sans logic . . .The reader should not see it coming in any way…. ) .

What several publishers don’t realize is that when you are marketing a book as a psychological thriller , there should be a real psychological element . To begin with ,  let me start with the definition of the term –

Psychological thriller is a thriller narrative which emphasizes the unstable or delusional psychological states of its characters. [ Wikipedia definition ] .

To put is simply , it should delve deeper into the psyche of the  characters  – especially the ( most probably ) twisted psyche of the perpetrator  .You can probably  give me an idea of why (s)he is  , the way (s)he is … When you have the victim’s POV you can get an idea of the effect of the crime on the victim’s psyche and how it had affected his / her life .

And secondly , scare us with your shocking twists & your psychologically deranged characters . Few of Agatha Christie’s villains are more shocking than the villains of few of these new age ” psychological thrillers ” . The element of menace is clearly missing in many of  almost all of these books . When you don’t elaborate on the villain’s deranged tendencies  , please don’t expect me to be scared by a Mr.Hyde like villian who is shown to be actually the darker side of XYZ in your story . Seriously???

If you are wondering whether this is a rant or a review , it is both .

The narrative was engaging and the characters are well fleshed out . The premise looked good with the setting just right – a family home ,  a disappearance ( or probably a rehash of an earlier disappearance ?? ) , the darker sides of those close to us ….. And then the twist came – it just left me so disappointed .

I think The Reunion is a book where the last 30 pages was the undoing of the entire book . The ending was a shocker , I concede – just of a different kind though!! Clearly did not see what was coming , else I would not have bothered to finish the book .

Let me know your thoughts on the book if you have already read it…

Rating : 2.5 / 5

If you want some good suspense novels to add to your TBR check out these posts –

it’s always the husband – A Review

The Girl Before – A review

Seriously under-rated Christie must-reads

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The Girl Before – A review

Epigraphs

Like all addicts signature killers work from a script , engaging in repetitive behavior to the point of obsessiveness .

Robert D. Keppel and William J. Birnes , Signature Killers

We may say that the patient does not remember anything of what he has forgotten or repressed , but acts it out . He reproduces it not as a memory but as an action ; he repeats it , without , of course , knowing that he is repeating it .

Sigmund Freud , Remembering , Repeating and Working – Through

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The Girl Before has been literally a (page) – tearing read . The copy had almost every alternate page stuck to the next page  and I was actually prising the pages apart and very often I ended up with torn pages . You can imagine how frustrating it is when you want to race through the pages but you are sitting and carefully prising open the pages stuck together – some way to read a suspense novel … I would not have minded if  it was any other genre.  I guess that ‘ s enough of a rant about the reading woes .

The story alternates between first person accounts from Emma – the Girl Before and Jane – the Girl Next . I picked up this book after Bring Me Back  and found that the same Then and Now style of narrative has been followed here too . There is yet another trope too that has become one of the go-to for suspense writers . Let me give a hint – Gone Girl took full advantage of this trope ( maybe I should say actually popularized this trope ) . Well , you need to pick up the book if you want to find it out – I have a strictly no spoilers policy !!

Plot summary  :

Jane gets a chance to occupy an aesthetic minimalist house . Now , One Folgate Street is a house where you have rules to be followed and any violation of the rules mean termination of the tenancy . The rules are laid out by the architect of the house – a man for whom perfectionism and minimalism are almost an obsession and  One Folgate Street is a reflection of his ideas and aspirations .  Jane discovers that her predecessor Emma  died under mysterious circumstances and starts putting together Emma’s life to  find an answer to the question – What happened with Emma ? Who is actually behind her death ?  Meanwhile we have Emma ‘ s parallel  account of her life at One Folgate Street and the readers get to know the truth behind her death . Jane ‘ s experiences  can be best described as reruns of Emma ‘s . But would Jane stumble upon the truth on time to save herself from the killer ?  Or does the same fate await her ?

JP Delaney has given a  neat psychological thriller – nothing more to say . What I loved about this book was the writing which shows that the topics have been  researched meticulously .  It was really interesting how cultural references took the narrative as well as the plot further .  The author packs a twist in every chapter and  you would be thinking about yet another angle within few chapters almost every time .  The characters , the setting of the story – basically The House and  narrative style have all been handled beautifully . Special mention about The House definitely – it is sure to pique the readers’ interest about minimalism . The reader engagement and the guess-it-who quotient is always maintained . An engaging read from first to last although I found the climax a bit too seen-it-before in other psychological thrillers . But you wouldn’t guess who until Emma finally reveals her killer. The narrators themselves have their own secrets … So , this book actually packs in a lot …

Rating : 4 .25/5

I highly recommend this book for all the suspense / thrillers buffs out there . Along the lines of The Girl in the Window this is another psychological thriller set to hit the screens soon –  You had better hurry up !!

The author ‘ s latest book has  Believe Me has got released recently . I will be reviewing it shortly . Click on the below links to check out the books at Amazon ( for Indian readers ) –

Believe Me

The Girl Before

Other readers can check out the below links  at Amazon –

The Girl Before

Believe Me