Saturday 7 June 2014

Who Are You by Elizabeth Forbes

I have been so desperate to post my review of Lizzie Forbes' second novel!   I was so lucky to be able to read it before it was even in book form - it was still a Word document and even though I don't usually read ebooks, I sat there, in front of my laptop and devoured it.  

I promised that I'd hold off with my review until I returned from my Greek holiday - well, I'm home, and here it is .......................

Alex, a career officer in an elite regiment, returns from Afghanistan a changed man. He has left the army behind and is attempting to forge a civilian career as a security advisor. 
His wife Juliet is delighted. She, Alex and their son, Ben, now live in a well-appointed house in a leafy London suburb. 
But all is not well. Juliet's research on the internet suggests that Alex is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) but pride means that he will not seek professional help. 
Finding solace in web forums, Juliet is offered the use of a cottage and is urged to remove Ben to a place of safety. 
After a lot of secretive planning and the financial support of Alex's mother who had suffered at the hands of her husband, Juliet and Ben escape the tyranny of their home with the hope of starting afresh. 

Who Are You? by Elizabeth Forbes is published in June by Cutting Edge Press, and is her second novel. I reviewed her first; Nearest Thing to Crazy on Random Things in June 2013.

Who are you?  That is the ultimate question. Who are you and what did you do with my husband? For Juliet, that is the question that keeps repeating itself, over and over in her head.

Juliet and Alex are two people who really should never have met and married. Troubled, scarred by life, and broken inside, theirs is a match that can range from the delights of heaven to the absolute terror that is hell on earth.

Alex was a serving soldier, Juliet is his wife; a stay-at-home Mum, a creator of a beautiful home, the mother of his son Ben.

Alex is cruel to Juliet. He is a sadistic bastard who appears to take pleasure in inflicting as much pain as he can, both physically and emotionally. Alex is a gentleman, a great host, a good neighbour. Alex is two men and Juliet is never quite sure which Alex she will wake up beside.

Juliet herself is damaged, broken, a little bit twisted. Juliet knows just how to make Alex suffer too. A toy gun for their son, a war film on DVD, these are triggers that will reduce Alex to a vulnerable, shaking wreck and Juliet has been hurt enough by Alex to get pleasure from his pain.

Readers of Elizabeth Forbes' previous novel; the incredible Nearest Thing to Crazy, may be expecting another psychological thriller.  Who Are You is very different, it's in a league of its own and yet again Elizabeth Forbes has created a cleverly woven story that grips the reader right by the throat.

Who Are You is dark, incredibly dark. It is uncomfortable, it made my heart race so much that I broke out into a sweat. It is a study of the human brain and of how the horrors of past experiences can burn themselves into the back of the eyeballs, and onto the brain and never, ever go away.

I am in awe of Elizabeth Forbes. Her writing is chillingly unsettling; tense and so cleverly paced. Prepare yourself to be consumed by this story, to be terrified and at the same time to empathise with the hidden victims of other people's actions.

A triumph!

My thanks, as always to the fabulous Cutting Edge Press team who sent my review copy.

Elizabeth Forbes studied for a BA in Literature with the Open University, and graduated in 2010 with First Class Honours.  She also holds an Open University Diploma in Literature and Creative Writing. Her first novel was the extremely popular Nearest Thing To Crazy.

She lives near Hereford.

Follow her on Twitter @lizzieforbes

Formed in 2010, Cutting Edge Press is the home of quality fiction and non-fiction titles which aim to address contemporary issues in an accessible way.
Never failing to be bold and innovative, they remain fiercely independent and proud to bring new authors' works to the attention of a discerning audience. 
For more information, visit   Find them on Facebook and Twitter @CuttingEdgeBks

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  1. I've also written my review and I thought it was stunning.

  2. I cannot WAIT to read this!

  3. Fab review - I'm just about to start reading my advance copy, loved her first book so have high hopes.