I loved Fallible Justice, the first book from indie publisher Louise Walters Books, so much, that I thought I’d trust her judgement and take a step outside my comfort zone with her next release. I don’t read a lot of thrillers, but The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson surprised me with how much I enjoyed it!
Book: The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson by Helen Kitson
Read before: No
Ownership: Physical ARC provided by the publisher for fair review. All opinions my own.
Release date: 7th March 2019 Pre-order from Amazon here (affiliate link).
Firstly, Helen Kitson’s writing is lovely. I always say that if you’re interested in reading about a character’s life before the main plot kicks off, and would happily continue to read about them just doing their daily business, then that’s a great testament to the writer, and that was definitely the case here. I really liked Gabrielle’s quiet observation of her world. You get a real sense of her personality and her careful creation of her image in each sentence. Her relationship to her deceased best friend, Madeleine, clearly haunts her, as does her previous success as a novelist – she’s a woman of many worries and many secrets.
Things start to get interesting for Gabrielle when she receives some fan mail that turns out to not be quite what it seems. I would 100% have noped out of the situation at the very second Simon turned up, because he really gave me the creeps – surely everyone knows the plot of Misery enough to be wary of stalker-ish fans? Still, I could see how Gabrielle found him compelling, and later, it becomes very clear how clever his manipulation of her is. I found some of this uncomfortable reading, having some experience of gaslighting, so take care if you have similar experiences – but that does go to show how realistic and clever the writing is.
Obviously, with a thriller, to say much about the plot would be to give too much away, so I’ll settle for saying that this certainly kept me turning the pages. I guessed one of the twists, but not the others, and I must have raced through the last couple of pages at double speed to find out the extent of the mystery! The book has such a wonderful feeling of creeping dread as you slowly realise what is going on, and then really does not let you go. I’m still thinking about these characters. I’m really glad I decided to give it a chance – though I feel like the thriller/domestic noir genre is still not for me overall, I very much enjoyed this peek into it. Five out of five cats from me!