The New Girlfriend by Sheryl Browne

This is a clever, gripping and intriguing thriller that kept me hooked throughout with characters that are hard to crack and a plot that keeps on getting more interesting…

Your Secrets. Her Lies.
Cassie stares at the woman on her doorstep in disbelief. Just months after losing her only son, Josh, here stands a stranger claiming to be Josh’s girlfriend. But it’s not only the woman Cassie is shocked by, it’s the baby nestled in Kim’s arms. Cassie’s grandchild.
I know what you did.
As Cassie tries to do what’s best for baby Samuel, she starts to receive threatening messages from someone from her past – someone Cassie has been hiding from for a long time. Cassie is frightened that her biggest secret is about to be revealed and she will lose everything, including her precious grandson.
You took everything from me. Now you need to pay.
As the messages get more sinister, Cassie realises the person behind them knows every detail about her life and she fears that she is being watched. Could Kim be the link between Cassie and the mysterious messenger? And is she in danger now that she has welcomed this woman and her baby into her home?

At the beginning of this book I was pretty convinced I’d cracked it. Kim, the new girlfriend, seemed to suspicious to be good and I spent a lot of the novel from then on sure that I was onto something. Browne, however, does not give in. Her clever writing, full of twists and turns, suddenly kept me guessing. There is no black and white in Browne’s thrillers, which is why I keep coming back to her books. Just as I thought I was over one revelation, another one would come to light. It never felt overdone either, each part of the plot worked perfectly to make this a fascinating and unusual story.

Each character had levels of intrigue, no one was one-dimensional. This is what makes Browne’s writing stand out – just when you wonder if maybe after all you have cracked the mystery, a character will do something unexpected and you’re hooked all over again. Cassie was a nervous bundle of emotions, but there’s a hint of a steely and determined nature underneath that shouldn’t be dismissed. Kim’s young innocence contrasts sharply with moments of insight that Browne offers into her mind. Adam’s strength soon gives way to his bewilderment, but much like Cassie, his determination and courage shouldn’t be underestimated. Each of them adds another dimension to the plot, making it more intriguing and unique.

The flashbacks to Josh’s perspective help to keep the plot going at a fast pace throughout. They offer insights into some of the characters just at the moments when you think you have them figured out. Josh himself is a really sweet young man, making his death even more of a tragedy that the reader is determined to figure out.

There’s never a dull moment in Browne’s writing and each of her characters are really well written. There is a level of detail and intrigue to her writing that I really love, and elements such as the flashbacks add another excellent level to the plot. If you haven’t read this then I’d really recommend it, but I’d also recommend all of Sheryl Browne’s brilliant thrillers.

The New Girlfriend
Sheryl Browne
Bookouture, 3rd August 2020

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