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Review: Trust In Me – Sophie McKenzie

on October 30, 2014

Trust In MeTrust In Me
Sophie McKenzie
Simon & Schuster
2014, 440p
Copy courtesy Simon & Schuster AUS

Julia and Livy are best friends. Originally Julia was Livy’s sister’s friend but when Kara was murdered as a college student, Julia and Livy became close in the aftermath. Now over a decade later and the two are still incredibly close even though their lives are very different. Livy is married with two children and Julia remains unattached and childless.

Livy thought they told each other everything but when she rejects a call from Julia during an important dinner at the home of her husband’s boss she has no idea that she’ll never see Julia again. Livy is told that it’s a suicide, that underneath her bright and bubbly personality, Julia was depressed, often drinking alone. Her prickliness, especially with her family seems to mean that they have no trouble accepting it, but Livy remains unconvinced.

So Livy does a little digging. And is stunned when she discovers that Julia has been keeping things from her, important things. Livy is in deep now and the promise of catching a killer after all these years, spurs her on. But she’s in terrible danger herself and her whole life could be blown apart.

Last year I read Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie and loved it so I was really excited when this one turned up in my mailbox. I don’t read a lot of thrillers as a rule but I think that in recent times I’m definitely reading more and more. There’s something about trying to figure it out yourself and also resisting the urge to ‘kill a fairy’ and sneak a peek at the last page to see if things work out the way you want them to!

Even though the reader never really meets Julia, the author does a great job at showing her personality through Livy’s memories – and later on, the opinions of people who are not Livy. It’s always obvious that Livy is perhaps a little biased when it comes to her friend, possibly because of how supportive and helpful Julia was to Livy after her sister Kara’s murder. Julia is portrayed as outgoing, strong and confident. A bit of a bitch as well, but with a heart of gold to those she cares about. She’s particularly close to Livy’s twelve year old daughter Hannah who always feels a need to impress Julia – and Livy will admit that she herself does too. When Julia is found (by Livy and her two children) dead in her apartment it’s quickly ruled a suicide. It seems that only Livy questions it and this dogged determination she has to find out what really happened does at times make her seem a bit unhinged. It concerns her husband Will who believes that Livy doesn’t see the effect her actions are having on their daughter.

Sophie McKenzie also manages to showcase the ups and downs of a marriage in just the opening chapter. The reader learns so much about Livy, about Will and about their relationship and how certain events from six years ago are still affecting it and the both of them. The character of Will is done so well because again, we see him through Livy’s eyes and all the mistrust and issues she still has with him over what happened cast a shadow over every single thing that he does. As the suspense builds, more and more suspicion seems to fall on Will and his angry rants and actions only make him look more guilty – although of how much is the question. Livy and Will are increasingly at odds instead of coming together to deal with what has happened and the impact it will have on their children. Livy spends more time with the mysterious “DB”, who was Julia’s last known boyfriend and who also doesn’t believe that she killed herself. Together they are hunting for clues, finding out what Julia knew that could’ve gotten her killed. And with each step they are closer and closer to being the killer’s next victim.

What I liked about this book was that it wasn’t just a thriller where amateurs attempt to unmask a killer – it delved so much deeper than that and really dug into exploring relationships. The bonds of siblings, the role of the best friend, the fragile connection of marriage – they’re all held up to the light and examined here and it fleshes out the story and makes it so much better for it. It’s not just about knowing whether or not you can trust Will, it’s also about human nature and what happens after a betrayal. Even if you want to trust someone and try again, it’s not always possible to turn your brain off and take that second chance. There are always things that will get in the way, that will eat at you until you’re vulnerable and Livy is in precisely the right frame of mind to begin doubting her husband. It definitely complicates things and makes her more likely to turn away from him and to someone else, someone that she feels is supporting her in a way that Will is definitely not. Livy is definitely stretched thin – she has her grief to deal with over Julia, her suspicion that all is not as it seems, her problems with Will and the fact that her almost-teen daughter Hannah has developed a terrible attitude towards her and seems to want nothing more than to make her life a misery. In investigating Julia’s death I think Livy not only wants to know but also experience the sort of freedom she perhaps hasn’t had since before she was married.

Trust In Me is another slick thriller that keeps the reader guessing and I enjoyed that but I think for me, observing the way people interacted and how relationships played out lifted it to another level. It was interesting seeing how different people reacted in situations of grief and terror and this was definitely the sort of book where I changed my mind on things a lot! It kept me hooked and I ended up tearing through it in just a couple of hours.

8/10

Book #223 of 2014

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One response to “Review: Trust In Me – Sophie McKenzie

  1. Deborah says:

    Fabulous review! Thanks for sharing.

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