Safe and Sound

Well-written and absorbing. Unsettling without being spooky or graphic. A great read.

Book title

Safe and Sound

Author

Philippa East

Standalone or series

Standalone

First time reading this author?

Yes

Why I picked this

I was drawn to this because of the author’s background. A clinical psychologist and therapist would have interesting things to say about mental health and would hopefully build that into a compelling narrative.

Review copy or purchase

Review copy via publisher HQ and NetGalley UK in exchange for an honest review.

What it’s about

When Jennifer carries out a routine visit to serve notice on a tenant who has fallen three months behind on rent she has no reason to suspect that there’s anything really suspicious. But, when she checks through the letterbox and sees piles of mail drifted against the door, and then the interior door chain is on, she knows this isn’t likely to end well. Little does she suspect how the impact of finding the corpse of woman 9 months dead will play on her own fragile mental state, and connect her with long forgotten people to solve the mystery of why a 26-year-old woman has died alone and abandoned.

Review

This is definitely not a story to read when you’re feeling emotionally fragile.

While it’s partly about the circumstances which led to the tenant dying alone with no friends or family to raise the alarm, it’s also about Jennifer’s circumstances. Due to Jennifer’s guilt, she’d missed some routine check-ins with the tenant because of a personal situation, she becomes very invested in finding out what has happened. However, her personal mental health means she’s not necessarily in the best place to cope with that search. This has a knock on impact for Jennifer and her eight-year-old son as she struggles to cope with the past.

Everyone in this story has secrets. They put on a public face which hides their personal anxieties and guilt. While the circumstances may feel more extreme in the novel, the desire to hide your worries and perceived failings certainly felt familiar to me. This story shows how secrets leech into all areas of life, and how hard it can be to ask for help.

Well-written and absorbing this is a great read. It’s not gory or spooky, but it is unsettling. Well worth adding to your reading pile.

Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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