I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.His & Hers by Alice Feeney
Format: ARC, Audiobook
There are two sides to every story: yours and mine, ours and theirs, His & Hers. Which means someone is always lying.
Anna Andrews finally has what she wants. Almost. She’s worked hard to become the main TV presenter of the BBC’s lunchtime news, putting work before friends, family, and her now ex-husband. So, when someone threatens to take her dream job away, she’ll do almost anything to keep it.
When asked to cover a murder in Blackdown―the sleepy countryside village where she grew up―Anna is reluctant to go. But when the victim turns out to be one of her childhood friends, she can’t leave. It soon becomes clear that Anna isn’t just covering the story, she’s at the heart of it.
DCI Jack Harper left London for a reason, but never thought he’d end up working in a place like Blackdown. When the body of a young woman is discovered, Jack decides not to tell anyone that he knew the victim, until he begins to realise he is a suspect in his own murder investigation.
One of them knows more than they are letting on. Someone isn’t telling the truth. Alternating between Anna's and Jack's points of view, His & Hers is a fast-paced, complex, and dark puzzle that will keep readers guessing until the very end.
This book really surprised me. I was pretty sure I had it figured out about a third of the way through, but I’m pleased to say that I was wrong.
One murder in the sleepy little town of Blackdown is unheard of, two and then three is unfathomable. And DCI Jack Harper can’t let the rest of the force know that not only does he know the women who are dying, but he was also sleeping with the first victim, in fact having sex with her just before her murder.
Complicating the issue further is the fact that Anna Andrews, his ex-wife, is the BBC reporter assigned to the case. The two of them have a complicated history, moreso than most ex-spouses, and being forced into a situation where they have to be in each other’s company is stressful for both.
It becomes clear very soon that all of the murders are linked, and that Jack and Anna are both much more involved than they’re willing to let on. There are multiple twists and turns through the investigation (to be clear, just regular investigative twists and turns, not constant “shocking” twists that completely upend the story), all leading up to the final reveal of the killer and their motivations.
This book was a really enjoyable listen. It was told in 3 POVs – Jack’s, Anna’s, and the killer’s. The chapters from the killer’s POV were really disconcerting to listen to in the beginning, until I realized that they’re recorded as though they’re being spoken into a voice modulator so that we wouldn’t know if the killer were a man or a woman. The modulator made it really creepy, and the sound had an echoey quality to it that was extremely effective, especially when I listened to it at night walking my dogs.
So if I loved the book so much, why not five stars? Alice Feeney has this really annoying habit of having her characters talk around facts so as not to reveal certain details until she wants them revealed. I get it. You don’t want the reader to know everything instantly. But when you’re writing your characters in first person present tense, having them think around facts is ludicrous. One (non-spoilery) example from this book is Jack. He and Anna have been divorced for a while before the book opens, and multiple times, Jack thinks about the fact that his life is strange because he’s no longer living with Anna and their daughter, but instead now lives with a different woman and a has a new child he’s raising. Those are the words he uses multiple times. This woman is his sister. The child is his niece. No one thinks about their siblings like that. “A new woman and a new child”. It’s very apparent what Alice Feeney is doing, and it’s irritating. Alice Feeney has done this in every one of her books so far, and it’s a glaringly obvious attempt to shock and misdirect the readers.
The other reason for the four stars instead of five is that upon further reflection of the crimes themselves, I am left with a lot of logistical questions that weren’t answered. The who and the why were explained beautifully, but the actual how of it all was unclear. I would have liked more on that. There were also some other events that didn’t make complete sense once everything was revealed, events I look back on now and don’t think were necessary to the story, or even contradict other parts of the story.
However, that shouldn’t dissuade you from reading this book. It’s an excellent psychological thriller, and Alice Feeney’s writing (propensity for deliberate obfuscation aside) immediately pulls you in. Starting the book with a chapter from the killer is an excellent way to throw the reader right into the action, and once I started this book, I just wanted to skip everything else I had to do so I could sit and listen. I had a great time with this one, and I’m already eagerly waiting for what Alice Feeney does next.