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When Fi Lawson returns from a romantic holiday she finds a stranger moving into her home claiming to have bought it. With Fi’s husband missing and uncontactable and her children not at school the nightmarish scenario continues to escalate. This unusual premise is slowly dissected through transcripts of Fi’s appearance on popular podcast The Victim and her husband Bram’s lengthy confessional suicide document.
Fi and Bram separate after his infidelity is discovered but attempt a living arrangement whereby they both have time in their flat each week in the hope of minimizing any upset to their sons. Bram’s document reveals how Fi’s understanding gave him the opportunity to carry out fraud as we see his lies build until he is backed into a corner. Reading both accounts side by side we see Fi’s innocent naivety with each step, and yet can we trust either of them as narrators? Fi’s story is for public consumption and she admits that she has lied about two things in it. Bram is allegedly in a wretched state of mind, or is it a ploy to enable him to vanish without facing the repercussions of his actions?
Bram behaves badly throughout the novel, he cheats and lies, and it is this that causes his, and as a result Fi’s, downfall. He is frustrating at times, desperately trying to extricate himself from the misery that unfolds when he could make it go away in an instant if he owned up to his actions. Nonetheless, it is his blackmailers that bear the brunt of ill will and some sympathy is afforded Bram in his desperation. At moments Fi’s predicament pulls on the heartstrings as you feel the hopelessness of it all. We watch as the betrayal grows, sometimes forgetting that she is entirely oblivious to all the events leading to it.
The story itself just about holds on to believability until the end where it becomes just a bit too far-fetched. An entertaining, at times gripping novel that leaves a lot of loose ends to ponder.
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