Emily, a pretty and young film assistant, is missing. The police have turned up Mia’s house to ask her husband Roy what he knows about this girl, since he was the last one to see her alive. The story that follows is Roy’s recollection of events against Mia’s, bit both of them might not be telling us the truth. A portrait of two dysfunctional people and their crumbling marriage, the secrets that they have been keeping from each other and even the lies that they have been telling themselves with tear them apart.
The story takes us from a wedding in India to the couples lives in London, and alternates chapters between the two as the stories unfold. A story of affairs, obsession, betrayal, family drama and secrets, as well as having two narrators who have zero self awareness.
I like the way the two remember or see things slightly differently. Emily is at the wedding in India, and while Mia remembers her as looking a bit cheap and having a rose gold dress, Roy remembers her as sparkling and beautiful in silver. It’s a minor moment, but one that reminds us how easily our emotions impact what or how we remember. Roy is flattered by Emily’s attention, so he wants to see her as special because that reflects well on him, while Mia perhaps sees Emily as a threat so wants to see her as cheap. The truth may be neither of these things, or perhaps both.
The books shows a marriage built on sand and we see is disintegrate, but it is also a suspensful thriller. Roy certainly knows more than he’s saying about Emily’s disappearance, but what? Is she missing or dead? And does Mia know something too? I found the two really interesting characters, who felt very real, and that kept me turning pages as the little bubbles of truth rose to the surface. I really enjoyed guessing who might know more and what was going to happen next, what different secrets the two might stumble upon next. I find books with an unreliable narrator really intriguing, and this is handled to really good effect in this book.
The side characters are perhaps a little more likable than the two narrators. Mia has a sister Addi who looks out for her and worries about her, and is maybe keeping some family secrets from her fragile sister. The parents of Roy are really overbearing and don’t like Mia. Roy is partly estranged from them but we don’t know why. George is a close friend of Mia and seems to be there for her whatever she needs. These characters round out the story nicely.
We are also given a great sense of anticipation. While we might want to know where Emily is, we also know that Roy has never had a partner that he didn’t cheat on, and Mia has some anxiety issues from her childhood, perhaps brought on by a family tragedy we want to know more about. There are plenty of secrets and lies here to keep us going while the mystery builds.
So, on the whole, this is a really entertaining and enjoyable thriller with plenty of drama and intrigue. And it’s not just drama, but the sense of danger too. Mia seems fragile, could she have done something dangerous? Roy blames everyone else for his own behaviour and he’s done some pretty awful things. Is Mia in danger from him? Also, there’s a character in this book who you might question is even real. Is someone a deranged killer who imagines whole other people?
This is a pretty good thriller, and I had a good time reading it. The main problem with it is the far fetched, M Night Shymalan of an ending. It’s like the author felt she had to have a real twisty-twist of an ending and it’s just not believable at all. And no clues were left throughout the book, so it feels almost tacked on. The motivation of the whodunnit and the lengths they went to and the reason why and… I mean, it’s pretty silly. But it wasn’t such a bad ending that it spoiled the book for me. I still got a kick out of this book.
One final thing, and a minor one… I didn’t like that there were two things Roy did that he ended up totally getting away with. That’s pretty uncomfortable!
Read It If: you like Gone Girl and all the bestselling type thrillers. It’s got a great premise and loads of interesting twists and turns.
Thank you PGC Books and Pan Macmillan for a copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own honest thoughts.
Your Truth Or Mine is out now in paperback.