Look Behind You by Sibel Hodge

Look Behind YouPaperback, 238 pages
Published 2014 by Createspace

I’ll start by saying that Look Behind You does first person present tense in the right way. The writing was smooth and the story was fast paced, which is perfect for this particular style.

Look Behind You, other than that it never really comes together. The story could have been an interesting one, except the readers are hit over the head about what is happening right from the get go. Once Chloe, the main character, leaves her prison and talks to someone other than herself, you already know what is going to happen. I’m not even exaggerating.

As I continued on with the story, I kept asking myself, “It can’t be this obvious, is it? Maybe it’s going to pull a Gone Girl?” Unfortunately, it was that obvious and thus it was that predictable. This left me frustrated and incredibly disappointed, because the writing is good.

The author does try to bring in more suspects, but they never produce as much weight as the first one. This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. I’ve read stories before where the ‘bad guy’ is in plain sight and the story ended up being great. The problem with how it’s handled here, is that the ‘bad guy’ is so over the top, so in your face, so unredeemable, that it took me out of the story.

I know that we’re meant to question whether or not Chloe is going crazy and if all of this is in her imagination, but that too isn’t done well. I might have felt like she was going insane, due to her not taking her pills, if the ‘bad guy’ wasn’t present as the bad guy. I do like unreliable narrators, but the first suspect is clearly the villain so you can’t ever really question Chloe’s sanity. She’s sane and he’s the bad guy. It is what it is.

Overall: If I had to describe this novel, I’d say that it’s a mixture or the movie Gone, with Amanda Seyfried, and the novel How to be a Good Wife, only the execution isn’t that good and there’s no real mystery surrounding who did it. The writing is good and Hodge kept me reading, but the execution and the characters just fell flat. A novel billed as a mystery-thriller needs to have those things in order for it to be good and unfortunately, this didn’t.

Novel was provided by netgalley

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