Author Mark Edwards returns following his previous number 1 best-seller The Magpies. I hadn't read that but had heard good things so I was very pleased to receive a preview copy of Because She Loves Me from NetGalley to try.
This is a tense psychological thriller about a young British man, Andrew who at the beginning of the book is in recovery from surgery for a detached retina. He's had a pretty tough time of it and is tired of having to cope on his own; his parents died in a car crash in his teens, his sister is disabled from that accident, he has no girlfriend or housemate and is overall feeling a bit sorry for himself (and rightly so). So when he meets the beautiful and clever Charlie during a hospital appointment and is instantly smitten, he begins to think his luck is changing. They get together shortly afterwards and things start to move very quickly with Charlie telling him she loves him and talk of her moving in with him after only a week. While Andrew briefly worries that things are moving too fast, he is already obsessed with her and so when weird things start happening, he can somehow keep managing to turn a blind eye (not an intentional pun).
But then both he and his friends begin to be troubled by really unfortunate incidents; accidents, troubles with the law, even mysterious deaths. Mostly his friends are all female and it looks very much like the work of an extremely jealous girlfriend. As the book progresses you know it's building up to something much worse and undoubtedly a twist in the tale. Mostly it feels like we're waiting for the somewhat gullible Andrew to piece it all together and I will say that I couldn't wait to find out how it was going to end. It is a total cliche but I found it hard to put it down.
And now on to the slightly more negative; I felt at times that some of the storyline was overly complicated, the twist was a bit unbelievable to me, almost like it was included to cause a shock rather than to make any actual sense in the context of the rest of the book. I mean, it feels really unlikely that anyone could have figured it out because it seemed so improbable.
Also, a character from a previous book of his who had no relevance whatsoever to this book was mentioned three of four times throughout the novel and it felt like it was wedged in there for the sake of it. I found it confusing when I was reading it until I happened upon the description at the end about the author and his previous work- otherwise it would have made no sense.
Lastly, I felt like the explanation by two of the characters to each other at the end of the book going through everything that had happened and what it all meant was almost a bit too Scooby Doo or Murder She Wrote for my liking. If the characters in a thriller/mystery have to go through the entire storyline to explain it to each other (and the reader) then perhaps it was too complicated to start with.
In general though, this was a good thriller just probably not my preferred style of writing.
This is out on the 2nd of September if you'd like to add it to your to-be-read list!