Six years ago, Alicia Berenson shot her husband, Gabe, six times in the face. She was 33-years old at the time, a successful artist and he a renowned fashion designer. She’s not said a word since, even during her trial, and now resides at a private mental facility called The Grove. Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who is fascinated by her case and maneuvers his career to get hired on at The Grove because he believes he understands her and can help break her silence. No one has ever been able to determine any motive for her having killed her husband as everyone believed them to be a loving couple with a solid and healthy relationship.
Theo and Alicia provide the narratives for this story, hers delivered through diary entries from the time before Gabe’s murder. We rely on Theo to give us the present day aspects of the story as he works to solve the mystery of what happened that day and help release Alicia from her mental prison. There are a host of characters who were part of Alicia’s and Gabe’s lives that are questionable, in the sense that their relationships with the couple may not have been as it seemed outwardly. All this has the effect of me questioning everyone and everything, what are the truths and what was smoke. Even Alicia’s hand in her husband’s death is in question.
I was off balance from the start of this story, primarily because I found both narrators to be unreliable as Theo comes with his own baggage, and it was difficult to sift through the truths. Yes, there are stunning twists in this story but it has that impact solely because of the strong character development and storytelling delivered up to those points. If you pay careful attention, however, it all makes perfect sense. I enjoyed this story, especially having listened to it as the two narrators delivered outstanding performances. They both knew how to portray their main characters and tell their stories. It was a well done listening experience. I’m also impressed that this is a debut novel and liked its connection to one of Euripides’ Greek tragedies. I highly recommend this story and be prepared for a classic psychological mind twister.
- Release Date: February 5, 2019
- Narrators: Jack Hawkins & Louise Brealey
- Audio Length: 8 hours, 43 minutes
- Publisher: Macmillan Audio