As a fan of psychological thrillers, I was especially delighted when “Friend” writer Wendy Clarke’s debut novel, “What She Saw”, arrived on my desk.
Main character Leona lives with her husband and daughter in the picture-postcard Cumbrian village of Church Langdon.
This is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else’s business . . . or at least what people are willing to reveal . . .
For Leona is hiding a secret — a secret she can’t share with her family.
But her daughter, Beth, finds out she has been living a lie her entire life.
For a good psychological thriller to work, there has to be tension.
“What She Saw” acutely observes Leona’s escalating feelings, while also examining the power of love in our lives.
Like any power, love can be abused. Wendy doesn’t shy away from this.
The dual-viewpoint first and third person characters, Leona and Beth respectively, work effortlessly well in the novel.
The short chapters help inject pace into the storytelling, and the writer’s descriptive style complements the Lake District setting. I didn’t know slate mines could hold such appeal!
The family unit is as fragile as it is strong in “What She Saw”, and Wendy spins a web of emotions through the course of the narrative.
I found the story a compelling read, questioning the characters throughout.
That, in my mind, is what differentiates a good psychological thriller from an average one: forcing the reader to ponder characters’ motives right until the end.
A goal adeptly achieved by this new and exciting writer.
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