Hello readers! Today is my stop during the blog tour for Safe House by Jo Jackman. Many thanks to Mia for the tour invite and providing the copy for review. Check out the book details and review in this post.
Safe House by Jo Jackman
Publication Date: October 31st 2019
Genre: Thriller / Psychological Thriller / Suspense
THE NEW NOVEL FROM THE ACCLAIMED AUTHOR OF STICKS AND STONES A REFRESHING THRILLER WITH A FEMINIST TWIST PERFECT FOR FANS OF CLARE MACKINTOSH, FIONA BARTON, LISA JEWELL, EVA DOLAN & LAURA MARSHALL
Charlie just wants to be forgotten but everyone else wants to know her story…
The morning after a terrible storm, a woman turns up in a remote Cornish village. She has bought the crumbling cottage that has lain empty for over a decade, and she’s going to make it her home. She calls herself Charlie, but it’s a name she’s only had for a few days. She keeps herself to herself, reluctant to integrate with the locals. Because Charlie has a secret.
Charlie was in prison for providing a false alibi for a murderer. But Lee Fisher wasn’t a murderer to her; he was the man she loved. Convinced of his innocence, Charlie said she was with him the night a young woman was killed. That lie cost her everything.
And now she has the chance to start again. But someone is watching her, waiting for her, wondering if she’s really payed the price for what she did.
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Mia and publisher. ***
Safe House was intriguing psychological thriller that revolved around Charlie, desperate to put behind her past, murderer ex and hate-filled judgmental people of the town. The book was about seeing the signs and heed to warning bells before it’s too late, misreading and misjudging a person, guilt, betrayal, manipulation, lies, deceit, blind love, unhealthy relationship, and facing past to give it closure.
I have just one word to describe this book- wow! The writing was easy and gripping, plot was suspenseful and intriguing, characters were interesting and setting was atmospheric. Short chapters made me flip the pages quicker.
It started with Charlie starting her new life with a new name in new place- a remote coastal village- after serving her 10 months sentence for giving false alibi. It was hard for her to move on. She felt paranoid someone might find out who and where she was and would try to harm her. She was restless and desperate to get over what she had gone through and so she tried to be part of the close-knit community letting her guards down. But the sense of someone was watching over her never left. Who was it? Can she really run from her past? Will friends she made stay friends when they will know about her sectret? Can she save them from the person who was trying to harm her?
Story was first person narrative told in dual timeline- past and present. Present told about Charlie’s efforts to stay safe and cautious, start new life, becoming a person she couldn’t because of her controlling father and then manipulative ex-boyfriend. Past was about what happened to her and how her life took unexpected turn, how she was sentenced for false alibi, how she discovered her boyfriend’s deceit. There were snippet of news articles telling what world thought about her, how people blamed her and how difficult it made her life before and after her sentence; interview with officers working on murder case told about what they thought about Steffi and her statements; and then there was Ben and unknown narrator who were out to get her, bring her to justice. Basically you get the wide perspective of the story- from victim, victim’s relatives, culprit, police, media and people who believed what was served on papers.
Charlie’s past life was most interesting to read. I was shocked at first to see she didn’t see through Lee’s lie and deceit, how could she not recognize manipulation? The way he treated her, detached her from her family and friends, not letting her enjoy her hobbies, weren’t those enough signs of unhealthy relationship? Oh but she was so naïve, stupid and blindly in love. As I knew more about her I could see why she was like this, less confident, eager to please and fearful to upset others, putting other before her, easily influenced.
Charlie’s voice was believable. I could empathize with her. Her thoughts and emotions were impactful. It made me think would I have done the same. Surely it’s not easy to believe the person you love is murderer, when they didn’t give away anything. It also made me think how her life would have been different only if her father was loving and supportive. The more I heard her thoughts the more I believed she deserved second chance. Author did amazing job in representing how a person feel after being manipulated, judged by people and serving sentence in prison.
I loved how she morphed into new Charlie. Confident, helping and seeing good in people but cautious, working on her skills and hobbies, turning the house into home, being helpful and trying to be part of community, trying to do right the thing, faced the past with calm and steady mind. It was great to see development in her.
All side characters were interesting. They made an impression, surely not easily forgettable. I liked Aubrey the most. Charlie’s conversation with him served as breather in this gloomy suspense. Cop duo was also good. I wish I could know them more. I loved the community and people who helped Charlie.
Author did amazing job with suspense. I couldn’t guess who that unknown narrator was, why Ben was after Charlie and what his motive was until climax. Climax was tense, kept me on the edge, flip the pages like maniac. There were many revelations from climax to end. End was unpredictable but satisfactory.
Overall, it was steady paced, intriguing, suspenseful thriller with interesting characters and strong plot. I definitely recommend this book.
The ebook will be 99p throughout November
Affiliate Link: Book Depository
JO JAKEMAN was the winner of the Friday Night Live 2016 competition at the York Festival of Writing. Born in Cyprus, she worked for many years in the City of London before moving to Derbyshire with her husband and twin boys. Safe House is her second novel and Sticks and Stones was her debut thriller.
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