Title: With Malice
Author: Eileen Cook
Publication date: July 27 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
(Australian) RRP: $16.99
In a similar vein of Gone Girl, With Malice (by Eileen Cook) has everything you can expect in a crime book. It delivers a satisfactory amount of suspense, thriller and mystery. But no matter how prepared you are, you will be surprised by its plot twist.
With Malice centres on Jill Charron who wakes up with no memory of the last six weeks, not even her trip to Italy, thanks to a car crash that killed her best friend Simone. She soon discovers that she’s suspected of murdering Simone and she sets out to discover the truth while being dragged by the public. But maybe she isn’t as innocent as she thought…
The book alternates between Jill’s POV/the present and a collection of documents ranging from police interviews to reports to forums wanting to bring Jill to justice. Besides being teasers, making you itch for more information, these perspectives show how misinformation spreads, that there are different sides to a person, an unreliable narrator – memory is a fragile thing and can’t be relied on all the time – and this makes it hard to find concrete ground on whether Simone was murdered or she and Jill were just in a car accident. My opinion on the characters and how I saw them based on the various perspectives certainly changed constantly throughout reading the book.
One thing I’ve noticed in the records especially the forum: some people lied or exaggerated their accounts of their time with Jill and Simone to add fuel to the sensation the case has generated…or to express a personal vendetta – which the forum clearly was against Jill. It got me thinking that society does have the tendency to get excited over something terrible and tearing others down. And it’s easy to do that online, behind an alias and a faceless avatar.
The plot twist will leave you on the edge of your seat and staring until the words on the page blur. There are clues throughout the book but they’re so subtle that you won’t pick up until it’s too late.
If you’re looking for a thriller involving frenemies and suspense that cause a blood pressure, then I recommend With Malice.