Let’s talk about a thriller that actually thrilled me!
I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney
Four out of Five Stars!
My Completely Spoiler Free Goodreads Review:
WHAT A BOOK! This was a super quick read and a big page turner. I had to know what happened and why. Ultimately, I guessed everyone (including some farther fetched stuff than the actual answer) except the person it actually wound up being! Definitely my favourite thriller I’ve read in a long time. A few things I didn’t like were the very detailed accounts of child abuse and a little more than midway through where I lost a bit of interest at one reveal. But MAN that final twist was a good one.
My Completely Spoiler Ridden Review:
I had a lot of thoughts with this one. I thought of so many possible scenarios of who might be screwing with Aimee, our protagonist and narrator, and why they would be doing it and I wound up being totally and completely wrong.
So here’s a rundown of this thriller; Aimee is an up and coming actress with a hidden past. Now, whenever I see a thriller where a woman has a past secret, my mind always jumps to the old reliable thriller trope where the big secret was some sort of pregnancy (see, In A Dark, Dark Wood). But Aimee’s secret is that she ran away from her father and brother as a child and was sort of manipulated into being kidnapped. Her kidnappers, Maggie and John, had lost a child years before and used Aimee to fill that hole, even changed her name from Ciara to their former child’s name, Aimee. Now Maggie and John are not good people. They’re mixed up in gambling, are extremely abusive, and have weapons hidden around their house. Cool. So once Aimee finally escapes from them after their violent deaths, she starts her life again, becomes an actress, and finds love. That is, until someone knows who she is and her husband disappears. It’s a wild ride.
Aimee gets framed for her husband’s murder, but then we learn that her husband isn’t actually who he said he was. The man he was pretending to be died a year before he and Aimee started dating. The man he was pretending to be dug up a body just to pretend that Aimee had killed him. Wild, right?
The book is told switching between the past and present. So you get the secrets of her past revealed with the kidnapping, abuse, and her escape with her “killing” intruders who were trying to kill her “parents,” combined with her present where she’s being framed for murder and someone knows who she really is. A little more than halfway through the book the past chapters stop because that story ends with a bang and the present story gets a huge reveal in that Maggie didn’t did and is currently stalking Aimee.
This is the point where the book kind of lost my attention. I didn’t see much of a point if we already had a big reveal. But then I started to realize that this was WAY too soon for all the secrets of the book to be revealed and, probably, the woman who claims to be Maggie actually is not Maggie. And I was right about that. Rest assured, this was not an easy solve. However, I was not right about who Maggie was. I started to guess that maybe the original child hadn’t died and was the stalker. I also thought that it could be the rival actress, Alicia, screwing with her and maybe she was either the child OR a twin.
But I was wrong.
This book is so messed up, it’s ridiculous. But it was messed up in a really weird, satisfying way. So who was pretending to be Maggie, why did she look kind of like Aimee, and why this whole scenario with her husband?
In short, it’s her brother. Her brother was pretending to be Maggie to mess with her AND her brother stole an identity and became Aimee’s husband. So… incest. I had this great, disgusting “ah ha” moment when he was revealed to be her husband that never ever wanted kids. Ah. Ha. I guess your brother wouldn’t want kids when he knew he was your brother…
He went to this huge great length to trap her because 1. He missed her after she ran away and 2. It ruined them. Which is weird and gross and I kind of hate it, but man, it’s a satisfying reveal.
This was a very well thought out book. The pacing was excellent and kept me turning pages. It was incredibly descriptive, sometimes to the point of being uncomfortable with the graphic depiction of the child abuse. Even the unreliable narrator trope, which bugs me to no end in thrillers, was done really well. Because even at the end you have no idea if she’s actually a villain or not, but you still feel happy for her. Very weird but cool feeling. This book was an experience that I would 100% recommend to people who can stomach some dark topics.
Marked with an ‘M’