I don’t read mysteries. I don’t read thrillers. Years ago, I managed a bookshop. Part of my job involved running the mystery book club. I think my bosses added that task out of a sense of epic Schadenfreude because they knew that I would read just about anything BUT a mystery. My inability to read the genre comes, not from a sense of snobbery, but because I’m a giant ‘fraidy cat. I always understood Joey’s need to put books in the freezer on Friends - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qqaCby1lGw. A few months ago, I attempted to read The Shining Girls (Lauren Beukes, Mulholland Books 9780316216852). I made it to page 60, at which point I was so terrified of the time traveling serial killer appearing in my bedroom while I was gone that I couldn’t get up to pee. True story. All this to say, reading Precious Thing (Colette McBeth, Headline Books, 9781472205940) was a major stretch for me. And I loved every minute! The story of the friendship between Clara and Rachel, as told from Rachel’s point of view, gripped me in a way I didn’t expect. This is one of those ‘stay up until 3 am’ kind of books. You just want to read one more chapter. Just one. Well, maybe just one more. And then another. As their story unfolds, as you start to question what you’re reading, you’re pulled even deeper into the obsessive and dangerous dance between two very troubled girls sharing secrets you just don’t see coming. About a third of the way through, the penny started dropping for me and a cold sense of dread began creeping. Everything I believed up to that point wasn’t quite right. And everything that followed? Well, just go read it. Trust me.
There is a tendency in selling books to make comparisons to what’s come before. Precious Thing has been called the British Gone Girl. Not having read Gone Girl, I can’t comment on that, except to say, I think this stands on its own. Colette McBeth doesn’t need the comparison for you to pick up Precious Thing. I was hooked from the last sentence of the first page. And I’m still waiting for an answer to my question about the third line on the last page. If you’re like me, if you don’t read thrillers, you don’t read mysteries, make an exception this time. And make sure you have lots of coffee on-hand for the morning, because I promise some late nights reading just one more chapter.
Precious Thing Colette McBeth 9781472205940 $22.99 CDN Paperback 9/10/2013 Headline