In the vein of Fiona Barton's The Widow and Renée Knight's Disclaimer, a psychological thriller about a war reporter who returns to her childhood home after her mother's death but becomes convinced that all is not well in the house next door—but is what she’s seeing real or a symptom of the trauma she suffered in Syria?
The One Person You Should Trust Is Lying to You…
Kate has spent fifteen years bringing global injustice home: as a decorated war reporter, she’s always in a place of conflict, writing about ordinary people in unimaginable situations. When her mother dies, Kate returns home from Syria for the funeral. But an incident with a young Syrian boy haunts her dreams, and when Kate sees a boy in the garden of the house next door—a house inhabited by an Iraqi refugee who claims her husband is away and she has no children—Kate becomes convinced that something is very wrong.
As she struggles to separate her memories of Syria from the quiet town in which she grew up—and also to reconcile her memories of a traumatic childhood with her sister’s insistence that all was not as Kate remembers—she begins to wonder what is actually true…and what is just in her mind.
In this gripping, timely debut, Nuala Ellwood brings us an unforgettable damaged character, a haunting , humanizing look at the Syrian conflict, and a deeply harrowing psychological thriller that readers won’t be able to put down.
War reporter Kate Rafter, the narrator of Ellwood's affecting debut, is more comfortable with mortar shells dropping in Aleppo and Fallujah than she is back in London, freshly returned from an assignment in Syria that has left her with nightmares and hallucinations. Kate got word of her mother's death too late to make the funeral, thanks to her alcoholic younger sister. She comes home to seaside Herne Bay in Kent to a house empty, except for memories of a miserable childhood with her alcoholic father, who beat her mother and blamed his wife for the death of Kate's brother. Chapters devoted to a long police interrogation of Kate for an unknown offense make it clear that her mental state is not what it should be. She becomes convinced she's seen a little boy in her garden, raising the question of whether Kate's losing touch with reality or something more sinister is happening. Ellwood portrays the horror of witnessing war in a compelling psychological thriller.
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I’m not much of a reader and I had trouble putting it down.