Summary from the back cover: Nina Todd is not the sort of person you’d notice – and that’s the way she likes it. She lives a quiet life: dull job, dependable boyfriend, no disruptions. When Nina meets Rupert in a hotel, it leads to an empty adulterous encounter that she’d rather forget. But it soon becomes clear that Rupert won’t. Is it pure infatuation, or something more sinister? Who is Rupert, and what is the power he holds over her? And who is Nina Todd?
I ended up not finishing this after having read about 150 pages – it got too violent. Normally I don’t have an issue with violence (see the Stieg Larsson trilogy, which I loved!), but we were inside the perpetrator’s mind as he planned the violence, which made me lose all interest and want to drop the book asap.
This has a really interesting premise, but the execution is weak. There is a mix-up and cover-up of identities (as you can guess already in the blurb), which is revealed to the reader very early on, and after that the suspense is that of watching a car crash – you know it’s going to end badly, the question is just for whom and exactly in what manner.
Nina’s behaviour didn’t really match her thought process, so that was quite gripping – unreliable narrator. We get the feeling that undisclosed evil is to follow to resolve the discrepancies. Ditto Rupert is clearly very messed-up – why is he so set on avenging his sister, when her death doesn’t really seem to have affected his parents all that much (they grieve, but are not vengeful)? Rupert’s parents were very dull – there was only a small examination of the impact of the murder on the parents. All in all, the characters were pretty flat – two really evil ones, a cheerful but dopey boyfriend, a mother-in-law who’s a bit resentful of the new girlfriend and a bit difficult but has no character development… and everyone else was very much just a name and a few character traits thrown together.
The flashback structure really didn’t help either – it wasn’t always immediately clear in whose head we were revisiting the past, nor was that much relevance of the flashback to the present day plot apparent.
However, it gets 3/10 on plot device.