Genre: Adult Thriller
Year Release: 2022
Source: Library Audiobook
Listened to the audiobook
Content warning: murder, miscarriage, vomiting, gore, suicide, child abuse, child neglect
Eleanor has prosopagnosia – face blindness, which is very convenient when an unknown assailant leaves her grandmother, Vivianne, dead before a routine weekly dinner. She learns from a lawyer that her grandmother left an estate, but the stay turns deadly when accidents start taking place and it’s a race against something to unearth all of Vivianne’s secrets.
This thriller has a tightly knit mystery alternating between past and present within an ancestral manor.
Eleanor is such a good protagonist. She opens up to the reader as the narrative goes on, presenting insecurities and the work she’s done on herself in the form of therapy. A thriller being this frank about healing from trauma and wrangling one’s mental health is fresh, and also proves an effective contrast to the other mess going on throughout the narrative.
The way Sten examines privilege and topics like immigration and hiring help in less than legal ways proved effective. The backstory is there, but none of the characters feel at all one dimensional. There is a relationship that is never endorsed within the narrative. I’ll stop talking specifics here, as it interferes with the mystery.
I really enjoyed the twists in this one. The way Anushka’s POV leads seamlessly into Eleanor’s is absolutely masterful. Myself as a reader felt a few steps behind the reveals.
What was also quite neat is that the prosopagnosia does cause some problems. Like, when Elanor needs to remotely identify who attacked her grandmother, she can’t. But it doesn’t stop or start with the plot. It also eases along some of the plot points later. The depiction is much more thoughtfully handled than in a previous work. It’s not entirely irrelevant to the plot, but it’s a detail that doesn’t go away once the story ends.