All These Perfect Strangers by Aoife Clifford

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All These Perfect Strangers by Aoife Clifford

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sophie Diamond
Reviewed by Sophie Diamond
Summary: Tense and unpredictable. A fascinating story of keeping secrets and your past coming back to haunt you.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: August 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781471153624

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How well do we know our neighbours? How well do we know our closest friends? How well do we know ourselves? A carefully constructed thriller, exploring what we human nature is capable of.

Pen Sheppard has started again. She's moved from her small town in Australia where people know too much, to a big university where people know nothing at all. But Pen's fresh start does not hold the freedom she wanted. People are asking too many questions, no one is what they seem and most sinister of all, girls are getting murdered...

This is a fantastic thriller. I love a book where you know something bad has happened but the information is teased out bit by bit. Pen is forced to visit her old therapist so she begins writing a journal of events but she tells the therapist only parts of the story. The story is two mysteries - what happened to Pen as a teenager and what happened to her at university. The first mystery feeds in to the second mystery neatly but these strings are only drawn together at the end. This is a dark book, full of dark secrets and darker people. It's the kind of story where you know something sinister is creeping over your shoulder but you're not quite sure what it is.

I really enjoyed this. I read it in two days because I needed to know what was going to happen. Apart from being exceedingly well written it's also a brilliant story: a lot happened that I genuinely couldn't have predicted. It's an unflinching look at human nature and what people can be capable of, and facing up to that darkness in your neighbours and yourself.

The story is well paced, events unfold very naturally, nothing feels too rushed or dragged out. There are no characters you can particularly cheer for. I sympathised with Pen but I didn't particularly like her, but I think this is a strength of the book not a criticism. There's an air of danger and darkness lurking behind Pen all the way through and as the reader you feel drawn in to that danger.

If you’re looking for a catharsis, this isn’t the book for you. But if you’re looking for a rollicking good read with a dark edge, pick it up immediately.

Thank you to the bookbag and the publishers for my review copy! If you liked this, you’ll love The Beauty of the End by Debbie Howells, another twisting mystery with a narrator you can’t trust. You might also enjoy The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity McLean.

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Buy All These Perfect Strangers by Aoife Clifford at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy All These Perfect Strangers by Aoife Clifford at


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