As a book blogger, I receive a lot of books in the mail. Some I've requested and some are unsolicited. An unsolicited book is the jump off point for Renée Knight's debut novel, Disclaimer.
Catherine is the main character in Disclaimer. During a chaotic move, she sits down to relax and read a book she's come across, although she's not sure from where. She's a few chapters in when she realizes the the book is about her.....
"There was no going back. Catherine had unwittingly stumbled across herself tucked into the pages of the book."
And the standard disclaimer you find at the beginning of book...."Any resemblance to persons living or dead..." has a 'a neat red line through it.'
What a great premise! I was hooked in the first few pages. But if that wasn't enough, Knight tells her story from two different narratives - that of Catherine - and the person who sent the book - Stephen.
I couldn't stop reading - I wanted to know what is in the book, why he has sent it to Catherine, why this format, what has gone on before and so much more. What is the secret!
"...The act of keeping the secret a secret has almost become bigger than the secret itself."
Knight is a master of doling out clues and snippets that let the reader slowly build an idea or a picture of what might have happened. Her foreshadowing had me staying up just to read another chapter before turning off the light for the night.
Then I reached the point of the book within the book where the secret is revealed. But - I was only about half way through the novel. What I thought I knew wasn't the end at all - there are more questions - and I desperately wanted the answers. Answers are provided by the end - but they aren't quite what I had imagined. I loved that I couldn't predict where the book was going to go.
Stephen is a particularly despicable (and creepy) character. His thoughts and justifications are quite frightening. My feelings about Catherine changed with every new 'reveal' in Disclaimer. But by the end (and the ending was just right) I was firmly in her camp.
Those who enjoy psychological twisty thrillers will enjoy Knight's debut. I did! (Nice little cover blurb from Lee Child as well)
Read an excerpt of Disclaimer. Harper Collins has also crafted a reading guide.
"Renée Knight worked for the BBC directing arts documentaries and has had TV and film scripts commissioned by the BBC, Channel Four, and Capital Films. In April 2013, she graduated from the Faber Academy "Writing a Novel" course, whose alumni include S. J. Watson. She lives in London with her husband and two children." See what others on the TLC book tour thought - full schedule can be found here.