I received an Advanced Reader copy of the psychological thriller, Beautiful Bad, at a Harper Presents event organised by the publishing house Harper Collins Canada. At the event, I was lucky enough to hear the debut author Annie Ward speak. What she told us made me curious and I picked up the novel at the beginning of March with eagerness.
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Maddie and Ian’s romance began with a chance encounter at a party overseas; he was serving in the British army and she was a travel writer visiting her best friend, Jo. Now almost two decades later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in middle America. But when a camping accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending writing therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian’s PTSD, her concerns for the safety of their young son, Charlie, and the couple’s tangled and tumultuous past with Jo.
From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, 16 years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 9-1-1 call summons the police to the scene of a shocking crime.
Is this novel full of suspense? Yes. Does it have an unexpected, twisty ending? Yes. Did I guess the ending? Yes, I did – though my guess was not long before the twist was revealed. Ward cleverly guides the reader to make certain assumptions of the married couple in the story; and of each partner’s behaviour. This she does with skill right up until the last page. The beginning of the book set a slow pace as we were given the back story of the two people involved in the marriage. There were moments, however, later on in the novel when I did not want to put the book down and had to keep turning the page.
Beautiful Bad is a fantastic debut novel which I enjoyed while curled up on the sofa during the cold days of March. If you enjoy suspense novels, this one is for you. I look forward to seeing what Ward will publish next.
I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019
(This novel was the 18th in my book pledge for 2019)