27 March 2015

Review: Don't Stand So Close by Luana Lewis

Don't Stand So Close by Luana Lewis

Published: 13 February 2014 by Bantam

Pages: 320

Genre/s: Mystery, Psychological Thriller

Source: Own library

Find It: Goodreads ~ Amazon


What would you do if a young girl knocked on your door and asked for your help?

If it was snowing and she was freezing cold, but you were afraid and alone?

What would you do if you let her in, but couldn't make her leave?

What if she told you terrible lies about someone you love, but the truth was even worse?

Stella has been cocooned in her home for three years. Severely agoraphobic, she knows she is safe in the stark, isolated house she shares with her husband, Max. The traumatic memories of her final case as a psychologist are that much easier to keep at a distance, too.

But the night that Blue arrives on her doorstep with her frightened eyes and sad stories, Stella's carefully controlled world begins to unravel around her.

My Thoughts

I’ve been going through a phase of psychological thrillers lately – they are definitely a phase kind of book for me – I’ll read half a dozen practically back-to-back and then won’t touch one again for a year.  For me they are like candy – I can eat a whole bunch and then go off them.

Don’t Stand So Close continues the tradition of a British psychological thriller with a bunch of blatantly unreliable narrators, which I tend to enjoy, but again if I read too many everyone becomes the unreliable narrator that I can see straight through – and sadly that was also the case in Don’t Stand So Close.

Stella is the main character of the story, although the perspective shifts occasionally to a few of the other key characters, Stella’s perspective also shifts back and forth in time and worked quite well as her tone differs from past to present, which is a credit to Lewis’ writing.  I didn’t find her the easiest character to connect with, partly because of my frustration with her that gradually built up over time – I’m not the most sympathetic of readers, I like my characters to be on the extreme ends of the love or hate scale.  This also started to impact on how I felt about the story – I didn’t ever really feel a sense of danger for the characters, not necessarily because of the plot but because of my ambivalence towards the characters and during a few key scenes I found it far too easy to lose momentum and concentration.

From a plot perspective, some parts were far too predictable, and other parts were definitely unexpected.   I’d pretty much guessed about 75% of the ending, but there were a few key points that took me by surprise – particularly the epilogue.

I did listen to Don’t Stand So Close on audio, narrated by Julie Barry.  The narration was in a rather plummy English accent which fit the tone of the book in some places, but didn’t really make it stand out.

Overall, Don’t Stand So Close was a good psychological thriller, but not one of my personal favourites.  It may work better for you if you haven’t been mainlining this genre like I have been!

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