This was a really unusual book and the way it was presented was quite unique, as it gave it almost a double thriller feeling.
The story starts as a transcript of a trial – Lee is the defendant, trying to explain away how Catherine (his girlfriend) was found in her flat, a victim of severe domestic violence. You can tell from the excerpt that things aren’t going well for him.
The story then splits into two alternating timelines, both of them following Catherine. The first starts two years before the trial date, and the second two years after.
Two years before the trial, when Catherine first met Lee, she was, quite frankly a bit of a ‘good time girl’ shall we say. She was out boozing with her mates, sleeping with different blokes, didn’t really have a care in the world aparft from where/when her group of friends were next going to go out on the town!
The Catherine we are quickly introduced to four years later is a completely different character – she has moved far from her friends, is demure and a little mouselike and is suffering from severe OCD.
In this way, alternating the ‘before’ Cathy and the ‘after’ Cathy, you can see how much Lee’s violence has changed her, but also, you feel the tension building as she embarks on her initially great relationship with him as you already know where it’s going to end up.
With ‘after’ Cathy, you really feel for her, and just reading through all of her OCD checks that she goes through every day, and her particular ways of how she must live (eg only shopping on odd numbered days) are painful.
It was a brilliant read, and I did keep wanting too warn Cathy. She was a brilliant character in a very well written and unfortunately believable story!