Book: Trust In Me
Author: Sophie McKenzie
I know, I know, it’s been ages since I last did a review! It really shouldn’t have taken me this long to finish this book as I was halfway through it before I started reading A Court of Thorns and Roses, but I’ve been really busy lately what with Uni and everything. Anyway, I actually started reading this book way back in July, but I put it down to start ACOTAR and then only picked it up again just over a month ago. I don’t know whether the big gap between when I read the first half of the book and when I read the second half of the book affected my enjoyment of it, but I definitely didn’t enjoy this as much as some of Sophie McKenzie’s YA novels. I think she’s a much better YA writer than she is an adult writer and wish she would write more YA books, because those are so good, whereas the two adult books of hers that I’ve read so far, have just left me feeling ‘meh’. The chapters were too long and the exciting parts only happened at the end of each chapter, which did work in that it made me want to read on, but then at the start of the next chapter, the cycle began again, most of the chapter was pretty dull buildup and then the exciting event only happened right at the end. I suppose it’s a clever tactic to keep your readers reading, but I would have preferred it if the action and exciting bits had been more evenly spread through the novel.
On a quiet, gray, Saturday morning, Livy arrives at her best friend Julia’s flat for a lunch date only to find her dead. Though all the evidence supports it, Livy cannot accept the official ruling of suicide; the Julia she remembers was loud, inappropriate, joyful, outrageous and loving, not depressed. The suspicious circumstances cause Livy to dig further, and she is suddenly forced to confront a horrifying possibility: that Julia was murdered, by the same man who killed Livy’s sister, Kara, eighteen years ago.
Desperate to understand the tragedies of her past and hold her unraveling life together, Livy throws herself into the search for Kara and Julia’s killer, who she now believes is someone close to her family. But if that is true, who can she still trust? Damien, the man Julia was secretly dating? Leo, her husband’s boss and a close family friend? His son Paul, her husband’s best mate since college? Or Will, her own dear husband, who has betrayed her perhaps one time too many?
When Livy finally faces her sister’s killer, and he tries to force her to destroy her family with one horrible, impossible choice, she must finally decide: is she strong enough to trust herself?
For a thriller, it wasn’t exactly very thrilling, for the most part, the book is just build up and gathering of clues to piece together who the murderer is and it’s only really in the last couple of chapters that the action really starts happening. Yes, okay, with a mystery, it’s good to have a slow burn, but you need to keep readers engaged and I didn’t feel like I was all that engaged for most of the book because of the slow pace. I also found that the main protagonist, Livy, annoyed me somewhat for most of the book, she complains a lot about her life, she makes some very questionable decisions, she doesn’t trust her husband at all, which okay, I understand, he cheated on you once, it’s hard to get that trust back, but despite staying with him, she doesn’t seem to be willing or able to forgive him and seems to just be waiting for him to cheat again. It confused me, that she seemed so willing to trust Damian (Julia’s former boyfriend and the guy who helps her search for clues about Julia’s killer) so easily and yet she can’t trust her own husband, that didn’t make sense at all to me. It was only at the end, that I really found myself rooting for her, most of the book, I wanted to slap her for being so stupid, especially when she made idiotic decisions that were just going to get her into more trouble.
My favourite parts of the book were actually the chapters from the POV of the killer, interspersed throughout the book, you get diary entries from the diary of the killer about different women that he had slept with/killed/both and I really liked these because they were dark and creepy and it was interesting to get a look into the mind of the killer. I did like that Sophie McKenzie kept me guessing as to who actually was the killer, I didn’t figure it out before it was revealed, which was good and I liked that the reveal made sense and the killer wasn’t some random person she pulled out of thin air, it was someone who had a connection both to Julia and to Livy’s younger sister Kara. I’m sure if I read the book again, I would pick up some clues as to who the killer was, but I didn’t this time. I wish the killer’s motivations had been explained though, it just seemed like he was a psychopath and there was no more explanation to it and I think it would have been a little better if they had been. This goes back to the problem with pacing in this book though, everything is too slow to begin with and then when it finally does speed up, it’s too rushed and doesn’t feel earned (although I suppose when you consider that everything in the book happens over the course of a month, a lot actually does happen, it’s just the writing makes it seem slow!).
Julia seemed like a very interesting character, but you couldn’t really tell, because we don’t actually get to see her, she is murdered very early on in the book so all we see of her is other people’s impressions of her. This is quite interesting though, because everyone has such different impressions of her that you never really know which one was actually her and she remains somewhat of an enigma. Usually this would frustrate me, but I think in the context of the book that it worked well, since the story is all about trust and just with all the other characters, you can never be quite sure if you can trust the perception of Julia that you are being given.
I didn’t find any of the characters particularly likeable to be honest, Livy was a wet doormat for most of the book and needed something tragic to happen to push her into action, Will came across as kind of a jerk, but maybe this was just because he was presented through Livy’s eyes, Hannah was a total brat and you don’t really know enough about Julia and get so many conflicting opinions of her that it’s impossible to make up your mind about her. Zack was cute however and I liked Damian, he didn’t seem to have ulterior motives other than wanting to find out who killed his girlfriend, although there are still moments where you feel like you can’t trust him. At points I thought I would have rather had Julia as the main protagonist, rather than Livy as from what you do find out about her, she seems far more alive and vibrant and fun than Livy.
There were some portions of the book that whilst I get why they were there, I felt they didn’t add anything to the story, all the bits where Livy was just at home with her kids, whilst I get that they showed she’s just a normal housewife and mother, they didn’t feel necessary to the story. I also felt that sometimes, the dialogues and Livy’s inner monologues wondering whether or not to trust someone and whether or not her husband was cheating on her, were too long. It’s a little unbelievable that Damian and Livy were able to discover that many clues on their own, but since it is a story and not real life, I was able to let that one go!
As a story, it definitely bears similarities to Close My Eyes, both Gen and Livy don’t want to believe that what they are being told is true, they both investigate with the help of handsome men (and feel attracted towards them, though in Livy’s case it doesn’t last), they both feel suspicious of their husbands, the characters aren’t all that likeable, the pace is uneven….wow I didn’t realize how many similarities there were until I listed them. They are different stories, but they definitely do have a lot in common. I feel like I preferred the premise to Close My Eyes, even if it was a little more out there than this one was. I also feel like the ending of Close My Eyes was better, the ending to Trust In Me felt rushed and undeserved and we don’t really get to see the fallout from the events of the book, though I liked how Livy decided to trust her husband in the end.
Overall, this book was okay, but too unevenly paced and whilst I did keep me reading and the mystery was pretty good, there was a lot about the book that I didn’t like and as I said above, there are quite a number of similarities with McKenzie’s previous adult book. I’m not sure I would recommend this book to a new McKenzie reader, you should definitely try her teen reads as I feel they are far more gripping than this book was. If, like me, you have read a lot of Sophie McKenzie’s books, then it might be worth reading it, but I wouldn’t go into it expecting it to be as good as her teen thrillers because it isn’t and you will just be disappointed. Her newest book is another YA, so I may try that, but I haven’t read favourable reviews so I’m not expecting too much. I hope it’s good though, I like this author too much to quit reading her books!
My Rating: 3/5
The next book I am going to be reading is The Assassin’s Blade, the collection of prequel novellas to Sarah J Maas’ Throne of Glass series. I’m so excited to be reading this, because I’ve heard such good things about it and I haven’t had a Celaena fix since the end of March!