Unless you’ve been locked in a room and deprived of internet access for the last month, I suspect you might just have already heard about The Old You by Louise Voss, published by Orenda, available for kindle since the end of February and published in paperback on 15th May. If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, every review will tell you what a must-read this one is – and as someone who reads the genre far less than many others, I can only wholeheartedly agree. I thoroughly enjoyed this one – my thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for my invitation to the tour, and to Karen at Orenda for my reading copy.
Nail-bitingly modern domestic noir
A tense, Hitchcockian psychological thriller
Louise Voss returns with her darkest, most chilling, novel yet…
Lynn Naismith gave up the job she loved when she married Ed, the love of her life, but it was worth it for the happy years they enjoyed together. Now, ten years on, Ed has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and things start to happen; things more sinister than missing keys and lost words. As some memories are forgotten, others, long buried, begin to surface … and Lynn’s perfect world begins to crumble.
But is it Ed’s mind playing tricks, or hers…?
I haven’t read anything by Louise Voss before… has she always been this good? If so, I feel like I’ve been seriously missing out. I’ll admit I was a little wary of the dementia theme, but the way it’s played into this story rather than as its main focus was just fine, and so very well handled. But writing this review does remind me why I find it so difficult to review a book like this – to give the merest hint of the way the story unfolds would be unforgivable, and every new reader really must be allowed to live it, discover it, and to whizz through the pages as I did, gasping at its myriad twists and turns.
So I’ll focus on how it made me feel – in a cold sweat for most of the time I was reading, profoundly shocked at every new secret revealed, totally in thrall to the superb writing. I’ll admit that I read the first half in short bursts – not through choice – but the second in one glorious uninterrupted sitting, revelling in its really original story and the excellence of the writing, desperate to read to the bitter end, to see the threads untangled, to see what other shocks there might just be in store. I enjoyed the story’s sheer bravura, sometimes quite preposterous and over-the-top unexpected (and if that sounds rude, I really do mean the opposite!) but all set against a perfectly ordinary setting full of all the domestic everyday detail, with its foundations slowly crumbling under the weight of lies, secrets and deception.
The characters are excellent – that magical balance of a narrator where you’re not sure whether you’re entirely in her corner coupled with a wider cast that you really wouldn’t want to turn your back on either. And despite the shifts of location, that overwhelming feeling of claustrophobia and menace builds steadily throughout, that feeling that there’s something very dark indeed lurking just round the next corner. This book was just magnificent story-telling from beginning to end – I loved every moment.
About the author
Over her eighteen-year writing career, Louise Voss has had eleven novels published – five solo and six co-written with Mark Edwards: a combination of psychological thrillers, police procedurals and contemporary fiction – and sold over 350,000 books. Louise has an MA (Dist) in Creative Writing and also works as a literary consultant and mentor for writers at www.thewritingcoach.co.uk. She lives in South-West London and is a proud member of two female crime-writing collectives, The Slice Girls and Killer Women.