Review – You Belong To Me by Samantha Hayes

By | April 1, 2015

Fleeing the terrors of her former life, Isabel has left England, and at last is beginning to feel safe.

Then a letter shatters her world, and she returns home determined not to let fear rule her life any more.

But she’s unable to shake off the feeling that someone who knows her better than she knows herself may be following her.

Watching. Waiting. Ready to step back into her life and take control all over again.

In September 2013, I read my first ever book by Samantha Hayes. That was Until You’re Mine – the first in this series with DI Lorraine Fisher and her family at its centre. I really loved it, enthusiastically reviewed it on my blog (here’s a link), and vowed to read more of her books. I then got my hands on Before You Die, the second in this series – but you won’t find my review of that one anywhere. Between you and me, I really didn’t enjoy it at all – it almost felt like it was written by someone else, with far too much going on, and a story I really didn’t engage with at all. But I’d enjoyed Until You’re Mine so much that I decided to give the author one more try, and picked up her latest and third in the series, You Belong To Me – this one was published by Random House/Cornerstone on 12th March. And, having picked it up, couldn’t and didn’t put it down until the end – this book was absolutely excellent.

I’ve written before on the blog about how difficult it is to stand out in the crowded psychological thriller market, but this one really does. And now I have the challenge of telling you why without telling you anything about the story, in case I ruin it for you… and that would be such a shame, as this is a book that shakes you with every unexpected twist and turn. In essence, there are two story lines – maybe related, maybe not. Isabel has run away and is working in a hotel in India: she gets some shocking news, and very reluctantly returns to the UK. Then there’s the story of DI Lorraine Fisher – a series of unsolved murders have really got to her, she’s on the very edge, but can’t make herself take the holiday she so badly needs.     

And that’s where I have to stop. The author really does write quite brilliantly – the tension she creates with Isabel’s story is almost painful, and just when you think things might be settling down she cranks the story up again and takes it in a direction you’d never imagine in your wildest dreams. The characters who feature in this story are quite wonderfully drawn – incredibly complex, some pure evil, but wholly and disturbingly believable. And as for Lorraine Fisher – her disintegration is superbly done, and she’s a fascinating counterbalance to Isabel’s story. If I have a criticism, it’s a very tiny one.  To begin with, it was just a little bit difficult to distinguish between the different voices who narrated the chapters – but that soon stopped being a problem. 

Don’t be in the least put off by the fact that this is third in a series – although it’s been interesting getting to know Adam and Lorraine, it won’t spoil your enjoyment in the least if you’ve never met them before. I’m so glad I came back to Samantha Hayes’ writing – this is one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read in a very long time.  

My thanks to netgalley and the publishers for my advance reading e-copy.

Samantha Hayes has an excellent website where you can find out more about the author and her books. She grew up in the Midlands, travelled the world, then moved to Australia for three years, got married, and had her children between 1991 and 1998. Having lived in the UK and the USA, they have now settled back in Warwickshire. Since 2007 she has had four novels published by Headline under the name Sam Hayes – Blood Ties, Unspoken, Tell Tale and Someone Else’s Son. Her books are now published by Century and Arrow, and this is the third in her new detective series based in Birmingham and written as Samantha Hayes. 

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