Book Title: Under the Harrow
Author: Flynn Berry
Genres: Thriller, Fiction, Mystery, Suspense
Date Read: 04/27/16
Pub Date: 06/14/16
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.
I’d like to thank Penguin books for my copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
This one packed quite a punch for such a little book (my actual page count came in at 219). I found myself fluctuating between 3-4 stars but settled on rounding up as the ending went in a different route than I swore it would. I was a little nervous picking up yet another book with a quote stating its “the next Gone Girl”, but this was totally different (in a great way!).
This is the story of a murder, sure, but its even more the story of a woman slowly losing her mind. Muahahahahahaha. I love psychological thrillers that make you wonder “is this person truly insane or are they just going nuts based on their surrounding stimuli”. Unfortuanately, it seems that Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train sparked a whole conga line of books trying to recreate that feeling you get when the narrator is the “bad guy” and you’ve been duped all along, only this doesn’t work so well once everyone has done it a million billion bajillion times. *rant over*
This story is not that type of book. I was pleasantly surprised with the ending and the way the whole story was wrapped up so neatly, but not in an obnoxious way. There is a bad guy (guys?) and I don’t feel its spoilery to tell you that. These sisters had serious issues going on, and that is explored in layers which was another satisfying aspect here.
The only thing that threw my groove a bit was the narrator’s train of thought. Sister-friend was ALL over the place; sometimes I wanted to give Nora a gentle smack and say “come back to me; get your head in the game!” It clearly wasn’t enough to cause me to give up, but it was a bit distracting.
I ended up liking this more than I expected and would consider this style of writing (while much shorter and concise than hers) a similar feel to Tana French. This was very descriptive of setting and the author did a fantastic job making me feel as if I was there.
There is a brief scene of violence involving an animal near the beginning. It might be slightly disturbing to some readers.