A Year in Books: January (‘Look Behind You’ by Sibel Hodge)
I’ll be honest: it’s only the first month of this project and my pool of choices is not very wide. I haven’t read a lot of new books this month, mainly because (excuse time) I’ve been reading short stories and poems for my course, and in my free time, I’ve been re-reading old books. So, from my limited choices, here is the one I liked the best.
Look Behind You is a thriller/mystery novel about a woman who’s been kidnapped and manages to escape. However, when she tells people what happened, no one believes her, not even her husband. Because she’s also suffering from amnesia, it’s up to her to find out who kidnapped her… If there is a kidnapper to begin with. *cue dramatic music*
Positive: This book was very gripping; I couldn’t stop reading at times! The story dragged me right in from the start and maintained its grip until the very end. The plot moved at a fair pace, and often progressed in ways I wouldn’t have expected. I liked how Chloe, the protagonist, had to do actual detective work to piece together what happened; sheer luck and coincidence didn’t play a huge role.
Negative: Because there was so much buildup to the end, I half expected there to be a plot twist. The story started to go in several unexpected directions, but the ultimate ending was slightly disappointing. The story is written in the first person, so knowledge is limited. While this heightens the mystery, it also leads to Chloe asking a lot of questions, which got a little redundant at times. As well as that, the characters seemed a little flat to me, especially Liam and Jordan (the other main characters). Soon enough, their behaviour towards Chloe set them up as archetypes of typical characters (villain, knight in shining armour; I won’t say who’s who).
Finally, the writing style, while interesting in some instances, fell short in others. Sometimes, small descriptions really bring the story to life: “A fox stealthily creeps across the lawn. The moon is clear and vibrant, the stars glittering back at me.” On the other hand, others lines seemed a little awkward to me: “His words hit me like an icy wind blowing in my face.”
Overall: I would recommend this book to those looking for a light but interesting read. While the plot is tight, ties up all the loose ends, and includes some mini twists, I wish it had finished with a final big twist. Nevertheless, the mystery is maintained well throughout, and it’s an enjoyable read on the whole.