It has been an exceptional year for thrillers, whether that be a book about a Girl on a Train, or one that has a Red Coat; this novel by Renee Knight, Disclaimer, is also worthy of being called exceptional. A debut novel, written so well, and in such a way that the premise for the book has you feeling excited and nervous when reading page after page. In one sitting. Which you will do. It’s that good. Or more so, psychologically good, brilliant in how it makes you think of your own past, and that anyone could have something considered a terrifying secret, hidden away.
Disclaimer is all about Catherine, and a secret she deemed to be long buried, 20 years buried, yet for her to pick up a book one night, to discover it is all about her, and this dark, dark secret. Obviously the author of this book (in this book) knows Catherine, because how else would someone know all about her secret, and then put it down in print. There are twists, revelations and then more twists (and so on); it makes you think one way, and then another, and in a direction that makes you realise that you should never make assumptions of where the story is going, without getting all the facts, first.
The writing in the book has a moody touch to it at times, in that it does mess with your mind. Renee Knight is one exceptional story teller, one who can make you believe that what you are reading is real life, perhaps as Renee does not allow you into the minds of any of the characters, again, as would be in real life. The author writes in such a way, that you don’t really know if you are coming or going, with how you expect the story to be going. I liked how Renee had me scratching my head a few times in (mild book reading) shock, as I usually know where a story arc is going once well into a book. Renee gets a gold medal here for strong flow, strong content, and strong surprise with her writing, and how brilliantly it was written, and how the story ended.
For me, I did find this novel unique in that it even had me looking around at other people whilst by the pool (I read it on holiday) thinking, “what secrets do and must they have!”.
Gripping is simply not the best word to describe this book for me, yet I cannot think of a better word than that!
10 out of 10
Review by Carl Marsh
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