2016 Reviews · Australian · thriller

Book review: The One Who Got Away by Caroline Overington

the one who got away

Book blurb:

Perfect couple; perfect lie. The not-to-be-missed new psychological thriller from Caroline Overington.

We all keep secrets. Some are deadly.

Loren Wynne-Estes appears to have it all: she’s the girl from the wrong side of the tracks who’s landed a handsome husband, a stunning home, a fleet of shiny cars and two beautiful daughters …
Then one day a fellow parent taps Loren on the shoulder outside the grand school gate, hands her a note … and suddenly everything’s at stake.
Loren’s Facebook-perfect marriage is spectacularly exposed – revealing an underbelly of lies and betrayal. What is uncovered will scandalise a small town, destroy lives and leave a family divided. But who is to be believed and who is to blame? Will the right person be brought to justice or is there one who got away?
An unsettling psychological thriller for fans of Girl on a Train and Gone Girl.

3 stars

As soon as a new Caroline Overington book is released I am always quick to purchase a copy.  I have read all of her psychological thrillers to date. When The One Who Got Away was released, I just couldn’t wait for the chance to delve into the pages of Overington’s latest book.

The One Who Got Away is the story of Loren Wynne, a woman who meets the enigmatic David Estes while working together at the same firm. When David leaves the company, their relationship also ends. Four years later, Loren has moved up in her company when she bumps into David on the street, their attraction to one another clearly hasn’t waned over time. It does not take long for them to resume their relationship, marry and have a set of twin girls together. Loren’s new life is far removed from her humble beginnings on the ‘low side’. Now living the high life in the upper-class area of Bienveneda California, Loren plays trophy wife to her husband. The Estes have a team of hired help to tend to all their whims. Beneath this sumptuous lifestyle lies and underbelly of lies, mistrust, infidelity and insecurity. In damage control after an unforgiveable letter lands in Loren’s hands, the Estes embark on one last attempt to save their marriage. It is a move that leads them to a cruise ship, where eventually Loren disappears. The remainder of this psychological thriller is focussed on solving the mystery of Loren’s disappearance.

The One Who Got Away was another fast paced page turner from Caroline Overington, which I whizzed through in just 24 hours. This psychological thriller is characterised by a finely tuned plot, contains a good level of suspense and has an accessible style of writing that wiles you to read the book at a brisk pace. There are plot twists, though I did somewhat predict the direction the ending would take. Overington does a good job at building the tension in her novel through her device of using shifting character points of view, which is a trademark element of her novels. Although the characters in this novel were defined, they were completely unlikeable in my eyes which made it hard for me to really sink my teeth into this book. This took me a little by surprise as in the past I have never had this sort of issue with Overington’s books. There were times where I felt inklings of empathy for the main character Loren, particularly when she was pregnant with her twins. However, as the book progressed, Loren morphed in a self absorbed woman whom I almost didn’t care what happened to her, albeit for the fact that I did not wish for her twins girls to lose their mother. David, the husband and main male protagonist, oozes sleaze, mistrust and a sense of detachment. I felt I never really got to understand his character completely. Despite my reservations about the character side of this novel, I did enjoy many elements of the story, such as the issues associated with a person going missing from a cruise ship in international waters. Also the sections following Loren’s disappearance, the revelations from her personal journal, David’s television interviews and court case made up for the difficulties I had with the characters.

The One Who Got Away is a briskly paced psychological thriller, focussed on the troubled waters of a dysfunctional marriage. It is a novel I would recommend to fans of the ever growing domestic noir genre.

The One Who Got Away was published in 2016 by Harper Collins Australia.

 

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