This author also wrote The Girl Before, but has since refined his preoccupations and writing to the point where I’d stop describing his work as psychological thrillers altogether.
This is Sky’s story, and though she is something of an unreliable narrator, this never comes as the sort of cheap shock or “writing myself out of a corner” gimmick its been elsewhere. Neither does the fact that Susie, her biological mother, has a more complicated past than we’re led to believe initially. Removed by the courts and placed with a foster family when she was a baby, Sky reaches out to her bio mum in hopes that she can effect an escape from the adoptive parents she describes as abusive.
Susie, who has miscarried multiple times in the years since Sky’s birth, is delighted to be a place of refuge for her daughter. Sky is manipulative and her stories don’t quite ring true, but also clearly unhappy and troubled.
Instead of trying to figure out who is good and who is evil, the driving force behind the novel is the uneasy question of whether Sky can be rehabilitated, or whether she’s entirely a lost cause. Its a well played but very different novel from Delaney, and I found it compelling and sad.