Monday, July 11, 2016

#Monday Review - Under The Harrow by Flynn Berry (Psychological Thriller)

Series: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 240 pages
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Publisher: Penguin Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Psychological Thriller

When Nora takes the train from London to visit her sister in the countryside, she expects to find her waiting at the station, or at home cooking dinner. But when she walks into Rachel’s familiar house, what she finds is entirely different: her sister has been the victim of a brutal murder.

Stunned and adrift, Nora finds she can’t return to her former life. An unsolved assault in the past has shaken her faith in the police, and she can’t trust them to find her sister’s killer. Haunted by the murder and the secrets that surround it, Nora is under the harrow: distressed and in danger. As Nora’s fear turns to obsession, she becomes as unrecognizable as the sister her investigation uncovers.

A riveting psychological thriller and a haunting exploration of the fierce love between two sisters, the distortions of grief, and the terrifying power of the past, Under the Harrow marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer.

Under The Harrow is the debut novel by Author Flynn Berry. It is a psychological thriller that is being compared in some circles to Girl On A Train. Nora Lawrence is a woman who works as a landscape artist. She is looking forward to a 12 week residency in France. But, before then, she travels to sister Rachel's home in Marlow for their weekly dinners. Nora hops on a train hoping to see her sister Rachel waiting for her at the train station. No Rachel. When Nora arrives at Rachel's home expecting her to be cooking dinner, or at least walking her dog Fenno, she is shocked to the core to find that Rachel is dead.

Rachel's murder leaves Nora in a dark place, not knowing who would do such a thing to her sister or what to do next. Has Rachel been keeping secrets from Nora? Has Rachel continued to search for the man who attacked her years before which she promised not to do? Rachel's murder puts Nora into another arena altogether. She becomes so fully engrossed in her murder investigation
that her own life is put on hold. She really becomes an entirely different person. How can she move on without knowing the truth behind why Rachel was killed? How can she look herself in the mirror without asking if there was anything she should have been aware of before now?

Psychological thrillers/mysteries are painful to read at times because you have to seriously consider whether or not the person narrating the story is actually telling you the truth. In this case, I have to say that I felt Nora's pain from the scene of discovery, until the killer is finally revealed, to her over-zealous and sometimes stalker behavior towards those she believes are guilty. Plus, you have to apparently have bumbling cops who dig so deeply into Nora's past, that she suddenly becomes a person of interest.

As I am sure you are aware, the press will always go after the worst things about a victim seeing if they were to blame for their own deaths. I dare say, the police will do the same damn thing. One could say that Under The Harrow is an exploration of the relationship between two sisters who have had some good and bad times together. It is also a question of whether or not you truly know the person who shares the same blood as you. I give the author loads of credit in keeping the killer in the dark until the last moment. There are so many different possibilities that you have to eliminate each one before you get to the final part of the puzzle.

Overall, I give this book a B- and look forward to seeing if the author can build upon what she's created in this book.

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