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Disclaimer: A Novel Paperback – February 2, 2016
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“Let me now acknowledge having done what thriller writers love doing: burying the lead. It’s Disclaimer that turns out to be the Gone Girl of the season.” (Janet Maslin, New York Times)
“Disclaimer is something special. . . an outstandingly clever and twisty tale that’s been perfectly engineered to make heads spin.” (Janet Maslin, New York Times)
“Sensationally good psychological suspense…exactly what a great thriller should be.” (Lee Child)
“Renée Knight’s debut book is being compared with Gone Girl. . . . A chilling premise.” (Wall Street Journal)
“With pitch-perfect pacing and alternating narrators that leap off the page, Disclaimer is both a page-turning mystery and an artful exploration of the explosive intersection between marriage and motherhood, revenge and regret. A wonderfully compelling book.” (Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia)
“The marvel of…Disclaimer is that it just about lives up to its unusually gripping premise…[and] forms a trinity alongside Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train as the best of domestic noir.” (New York Daily News)
“Disclaimer stealthily steals your attention and by the end holds you prisoner—a searing story that resonates long after the final page. The best thriller I’ve read this year.” (Rosamund Lupton, New York Times bestselling author of Sister and Afterwards)
“Knight’s pace…nuilds momentum and ends with a series of breakneck plot twists and surprises.… A seriously unnerving roller coaster…. It’s also a surprisingly sophisticated examination of marriage, motherhood and memory, as well as—naturally—guilt, grief and revenge.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
“A mysterious book within a book, which contains potentially damning information about the protagonist, jump starts this remarkable debut by British scriptwriter Knight....This unsettling psychological thriller about guilt and grief briskly moves to a shocking finale enhanced by its strong characters.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“The first requirement of a fabulous summer read is that it should be too enthralling to put down. Disclaimer meets that requirement mightily.… A gripping, well-written story for those who aren’t afraid of the darker side of summer reading.” (Charleston Gazette)
From the Back Cover
“Sensationally good psychological suspense. . . . exactly what a great thriller should be.”—Lee Child
What if you realized the terrifying book you were reading was all about you?
When a mysterious novel appears at Catherine Ravenscroft’s bedside, she is curious. She has no idea who might have sent her The Perfect Stranger—or how it ended up on her nightstand. At first, she is intrigued by the suspenseful story that unfolds.
And then she realizes.
This isn’t fiction.
The Perfect Stranger re-creates in vivid, unmistakable detail the day Catherine became hostage to a dark secret, a secret that only one other person knew—and that person is dead.
Now that the past Catherine so desperately wants to forget is catching up with her, her world is falling apart. Plunged into a living nightmare, her only hope is to confront what really happened on that terrible day . . . even if the shocking truth might destroy her.
Top customer reviews
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The book opens with a really intriguing premise, however it took me more than a third of the book to actually get engaged in it. The book alternates between past, in 1993, and the present in 2013. It also alternates between characters, sometimes with Charlotte, sometimes her husband or son, and sometimes the author of the book Charlotte reads. There's a long build up before the content of the book Catherine read is revealed, thus exposing her secret, and how Charlotte and the author of the book are connected. I think that's where I struggled. Without knowing the context of what Catherine was hiding, I wasn't connecting with her emotions as a character.
Additionally, I didn't love that I felt like so much of the conflict could have been resolved with simple communication. Every character in the book had issues or tension with other characters and most of them would have been solved in 5 minutes in real life. This isn't the first book I've read that I've had the same problem with, and I'm sure it won't be the last.
What I did love was the last third of the book. In the last third, everything is revealed. The content of the book, the true story, and how all of the pieces fit together. I loved all of the twists and turns, and was excited to finish the book and see how everything played out. I wish the entire book was more similar to the last third, because that definitely would have merited a 5 star review. As it stands right now, I'd say I'd give it 3 stars. If you're looking for a book that is fast paced from page one, this is not the book for you. If you're willing to wait until the end of the book to get to the good stuff, then you might want to check this one out.
I finished the book feeling angry and not sure why. Was I anger at the main character for being so afraid and insecure to not address the issues when they happened? Was I angry that the event cause a problem thrown in at the end? ( I don't want to give this point away for potential readers) I just don't think I could keep what happened to her to myself like she did.....but then that is the heart of the story line...secrets kept. Lives ruined... a hero not a hero. And it never was clear what Jonathan's father did to children he taught. I really thought he had issues that carried over to raising his son, or did all that happened after his son died? This was not made clear in my mind. The jumping around left some things unclear. Does the reader really have to go back to clarify the events? More than one in our book club did. I read this over a few days so I felt the events were fresh in my mind. Unbelievable and anger..that is what I am left with after reading this book.
While certainly never a *bad* book, it seemed like a pretty typical one for the genre, and none of the characters were particularly sympathetic. Although I was in the mood for something else, a mild curiosity kept me going, and I'm so glad I pushed through. No spoilers, but: The last 25% or so blew me away.
The author does a particularly clever and heart-wrenching job of turning the reader's expectations on their head. The earlier mundanity is necessary--the everyday-ness lingered around like a fog, making the developments all the more gut-churning. Truly surprised at the characters by the end; they show a real depth of humanity and, in some cases, more strength than you'd expect from them. Heroism in the everyday. As I finished the book I caught myself saying aloud, "Nicely done." Plan to reread this one, and perhaps blog about it. It's that kind of book.
Definitely a psychological thriller, and one that will keep you guessing until the end. Though the reader will see some things coming, other things they won't, and that's what makes these types of reads fun. Well, I use the word 'fun' loosely. This is a dark read, but anything less wouldn't do it justice. The author has a sharp grasp of the genre, and the reader feels all sorts of emotions. I'm glad this was a book club read for me. We'll have lots to discuss. (Review based on a library copy.)