Everything is pretense.
Alice Feeney's debut novel, Sometimes I Lie has been an enormous commercial success and soon the audience will have the chance to watch a television adaptation starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. I Know Who You Are is a psychological thriller very close to the spirit of the author's first work and I'm almost certain that it will too be adapted into feature film or TV series as it contains all the ingredients that make a gripping thriller. There is mystery, intrigue, plenty of mind-blowing twists that turn the story upside down and a fascinating protagonist who is deeply troubled and carrying a heavy burden of secrets from her past. Feeney employs the double timeline narrative to better convey the story to the reader and the jumping back and forth in time throughout the book is handled expertly adding to a quick pace and further enhancing the element of suspense. Moreover, there are several unexpected developments in the plot, especially during the second part in the novel, while the final revelation is so shocking that leaves the reader in awe. The author is expert in weaving complex stories that involve morally dubious main characters who are drawn into nightmarish scenarios that require them to use all of their courage and cunning in order to survive.
Aimee, the main narrator, is an actress and a rising star in the film industry, even though various aspects of her job seem to be a strain for her. For Aimee, pretending is a way of life as well as a means of escape from the real her who is buried under a series of lies and purposeful misinformation as she seems to believe that this is only way to live happily. Aimee's world will be overturned when one day she returns home to find her husband, Ben, missing with all his personal possessions still in the residence. Soon the case becomes a police matter and when the first detectives appear in Aimee's front step, she realizes that something truly sinister is going on and that she is set up for taking the blame for her husband disappearance or even murder. At the same time, the protagonist has to plow through an everyday existence that is filled with anxiety, so she soon begins to feel paranoid and suspects her closest circle of acquaintances. Furthermore, Aimee is convinced that Ben's vanishing must be somehow linked with the stalker who used to follow her a couple of years earlier and sent her messages writing "I Know Who You Are". Those letters deeply shook Aimee as it was evident that whoever the stalker was, they possessed information for her that could prove fatal for her career and personal life.
In the past timeline we move backwards twenty years and we witness the events that marked Aimee's early childhood. Being raised by a violent patriarch in Ireland, the 5-year-old girl flees her house only to be kidnapped by a corrupt couple, John and Maggie, who imprison little Aimee and force her to become the substitute of their dead daughter. The main focus is on the relationship between Maggie, the woman who abducts Aimee and the little girl who gradually becomes accustomed to her new household as she has no other choice. Maggie wants to raise Aimee in a way which will help her deal with all the hardships of the world and sometimes she becomes even violent if that's what is required. John and Maggie run a bookmaking business and they often encounter problems with rival criminal rings who attempt to rob them more than once. As Aimee is growing older she is taught how to deal with similar situations and she even learns how to shoot a firearm just in case something bad happens in the shop. I will not write anything more concerning the plot as it would spoil a spine-tingling reading experience, filled with spectacular twists and turns.
This is first book by Alice Feeney that I've read and I decided to give it a try after reading many rave reviews around the web. There is a lot of hype surrounding I Know Who You Are and deservedly so as it is the perfect psychological thriller to entertain yourself during the summer months. I have to admit that I didn't see the final twist coming and I was also fascinated by the main character's double narration that outlines an unlikable individual who, nevertheless, becomes identifiable to the reader as the story unravels and we learn more about Aimee's personal history that made her the way she is today. There is not a single redundant page in this novel as the author sets up his story from the very first pages and is careful enough to mention what is strictly necessary for the reader to keep turning the pages without making any hints at the forthcoming crucial revelations. This makes the twists feel like they come out of the blue, further enhancing the excitement and thrill. If you are a fan of intricate psychological thrillers that keep you on the edge of your seat, then this is the most fitting choice for you to add to your TBR list. It is also excellent for the fans of writers such as Harlan Coben, Liz Nugent, and Lisa Unger.