by Sarah Wray
bookshelves: 2017, netgalley-arc, new-to-me-author, 4-star, author-i-want-to-read-more-of, contemporary-fiction, crime, family-drama,murder-mystery, sandy-s-ng-nirvana, sandy-s-reading-retreat, suspense
Another brown envelope.
This time I don’t wait. I rip the envelope straight open and shove my hand inside. It’s cold, metal; a thin chain. When I pull it out and hold it up, the room feels as if it spins like a fun house. It’s the gold chain with the heart shaped locket, the one they said Victoria was missing that night, that never turned up.
My fingers are shaking but I am eventually able to turn it over – the ‘VP’ engraving is there like I knew it would be.
Before I wasn’t sure. Now I am certain. Someone knows what happened to Victoria that night and this is a message.
THE BLURB: Two girls. A murder. And a secret that binds them forever.
As a teenager, Sylvie Armstrong’s life was shattered when her best friend, Victoria Bland, was murdered. The killer has never been caught – and Sylvie has never spoken about what happened that day.
Now, two decades have gone by and after the death of her mother, Sylvie is forced to return to her home town, along with her newborn daughter – only to be confronted by the secrets that she has been running from for twenty years.
But then Sylvie receives the locket Victoria was wearing on the night she died – and it becomes clear that somebody knows what really happened to Victoria.
As Sylvie struggles to discover the truth behind the lies, she finds herself in increasing danger from those who will stop at nothing to keep their secrets. Someone who threatens not only Sylvie, but everything she loves…
MY THOUGHTS: ‘Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t going away.’
Her Best Friend by Sarah Wray is deceptive. For around the first third of the book, I thought it was okay, but nothing really special. But what it actually is, is a cleverly crafted, slow burning read. Like one of those fireworks that appears to be fizzing, gives a couple of experimental spurts, then bursts into a beautiful technicolor display of pyrotechnics. The second third of the book had me reading avidly, and the final third? You couldn’t have paid me to put the book down.
You may not like the characters, but they are well drawn and realistic. The story takes place over two timelines, now and twenty years previous. Sylvie, the pivotal character, is no more self assured now than she was then. She revolved in Victoria’s orbit, followed her lead, was her acolyte.
Relationships between the characters are more complex than they first appear. I had several suspects in mind for the death of Victoria. I changed my mind several times throughout the read. I settled on two, but couldn’t make my mind up which of them it was, and was wrong. Completely and utterly way off base. Which pleases me greatly.
4.5 sparkling stars for Her Best Friend by Sarah Wray which came to me in the form of a digital ARC from Bookouture via Netgalley, for which I thank them. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2185446623