Some books grab you and don’t let go. Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry is one of them. Here’s the blurb:
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 unrecognisable as the sister her investigation uncovers.
Dark and twisty, Under the Harrow explores the love between two sisters, the lengths they will go for revenge and closure, and the gripping hold of the past. A psychological thriller, it keeps the reader permanently in suspense because you don’t know how reliable the narrator is, especially as time passes. It’s cleverly done, because as suspicion mounts on the part of the police, so it does for the reader. The whole idea of ‘who do you trust’ is explored both as a plot and stylistic device.
The book has a disjointed feel, and doesn’t follow a completely linear narrative, jumping back and forth in time, as Nora recalls the past and lives through the present. It’s confusing at times, but also completely believable when you consider how our thoughts move all over the place, from past to present, from one thing to another. If you like psychological thrillers, give this a go.
Available from good bookstores (RRP $32.99 AUD). My copy was courtesy of Hachette.
For more of Monique Mulligan’s writing on books, check out Write Note Reviews
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television