Before I start this review, I firstly want to thank the team at Penguin UK Michael Joseph team for the auto-approval on NetGalley. I was absolutely over the moon when I got the email through letting me know and I’ve definitely taken full advantage of this amazing privilege. The first book that I chose to download was yet another psychological thriller – Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan and I’m pleased to say that this choice was an absolutely amazing one for me. I was pretty surprised to read that this had got some pretty negative reviews on Goodreads so hopefully, my feedback on it will rectify that situation a little bit! I was very surprised to discover that this is a debut novel from Helen Callaghan as it has all the signs of an established writer.
The audience is introduced to Margot Lewis, the first person protagonist of the novel. Margot is an agony aunt writer for the Cambridge local newspaper. She receives a letter which is out of the ordinary, from a woman claiming to be someone named Bethan Avery- the same Bethan Avery who is presumed dead, having gone missing in 1998, years prior to the novel’s present day. At the same time, a local girl, Katie, has also vanished without a trace and the signs imply that the same perpetrator is responsible for the two crimes. Margot continues to receive letters from Bethan over the course of the novel and works alongside a criminal investigative team to uncover what truly happened to her, in the hope that it will lead them to Katie.
The book has a lot of different twists and turns, all of which contributed to in being a very interesting read. I enjoyed the relationship between Margot and her love interest (who I won’t divulge the name of, for obvious reasons!) although it could be said that it was a little bit cliché (but who doesn’t love a bit of cheese!!) Callaghan’s style of writing is nothing short of fantastic- her metaphors leave nothing to the imagination and she really is a credit to the genre. The book was definitely well researched and everything seemed to come together – I didn’t have any unanswered questions at the end, which for me is a big thing as there’s honestly nothing worse than a massive plot hole as far as I’m concerned. I enjoyed how the novel started off as being mysterious but eventually becomes the dark and intense tale that you expect from a psychological thriller.
It is pretty difficult to go into a lot of detail about this one without spoiling the major twist, but it’s worth it. I kind of had an inkling that it would be somewhere along the lines in which it went, but that isn’t to say that it was a predictable read. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Helen’s going to offer in the coming years and I’ll definitely be passing this one onto friends and family when I can!