It’s such a pleasure today to be joining the blog tour for Getting Away with Murder by Joy Wood, and sharing my review. Independently published on 13th July, it’s now available for kindle (free through Kindle Unlimited) via Amazon in the UK and US – and I see it’s also available in paperback. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the author for my advance reading e-copy.
Way back in 2016, I shared the personal story of then debut author Joy Wood – it’s still one of my favourite guest posts, and you can read it again here. She protested then that she wasn’t really an author, but a nurse – but I then went on to read For the Love of Emily (you’ll find my review here). I will admit it might not have been quite my usual choice of reading – in those days, she was writing adult romance, and that’s never something I’m particularly comfortable with. But what really made the book for me was the story itself, an excellent thriller and story of betrayal and secrets that had me on the edge of my seat – it was exceptionally well constructed, and I was really struck by the quality of the writing.
In the years that have followed, she’s moved away from erotica, and her more recent books have been thrillers with a romantic edge. Joy has worked so incredibly hard to establish herself as an author – I’ve been watching from the sidelines, and I’m in awe at her energy and enthusiasm – and (even though thrillers aren’t really my usual reading either!) I thought it really was about time I tried another of her books.
Claire is happily married to the charismatic Max Maric and living the dream in a luxury house in the prestigious Sandbanks area of Poole Harbour. She loves her husband and their precious son, Freddy. Her life is perfect. Or so she thinks.
Annabelle is Max Maric’s lover. She’s a wealthy widow and is all set to marry him, just as soon as he’s divorced. Her life will then be perfect. Or so she thinks.
One man, two women, but they can’t both have him.
And he doesn’t get to choose – the schizophrenic decides, with a sophisticated plan to eradicate her nemesis in the most heinous of ways.
The intended victim needs a friend. Fortunately, she has a new one she’s become close to.
But nobody told her that false friends are worse than open enemies.
Now living in their dream home in the Sandbanks area of Poole, Claire’s hoping that the new home office will mean she sees more of her workaholic husband Max, and that her young son Freddy will have a more hands-on father. It’s not working out that way – he’s spending more time than ever working in London, mainly because of the attraction of his steamy affair with Annabelle, along with his designs on her thriving luxury health spa to add to his business empire.
But distinctly unstable Annabelle has plans of her own – convinced Max’s marriage is almost over, she’s already planning their wedding, and nothing can be allowed to get in its way. Claire meanwhile is lonely and friendless – it’s no wonder she’s attracted by gardener Adam, and although he’s a man with a rather complex history of his own he builds a particularly strong bond with young Freddy. While Claire has an increasing sense of impending doom – something she can’t quite put her finger on – her life goes on, helping her mother after a stroke, singing in the choir, making a new friend in a neighbour, and fighting her growing attraction to Adam.
One of the things I really liked about this book was the build-up – the characterisation is really excellent, there was time to warm to Claire and her young son, to get to know Adam, and I enjoyed the domestic detail of their lives. But alongside that, we increasingly see quite how unhinged Annabelle is – an equally well drawn character, obsessive and driven, and it’s clear from outset that she’s a considerable threat to the family’s happy future. But even if the threat is evident and mounting, I really had no idea where the story would go – the tension and menace steadily builds as Max lives his two separate lives, and real danger comes considerably closer to home. The climactic scenes are explosive, real edge-of-the-seat stuff exceptionally well written, with a few entirely unexpected twists and turns that certainly made the pages turn considerably faster.
I might not always the world’s biggest fan of a thriller, but I really enjoyed the balance of this one – intense and gripping as the momentum builds, but with particularly well developed characters, and real interest in their relationships and back stories. The writing is really accomplished, great storytelling, drawing you in and immersing you in the characters’ lives, and I found the book quite impossible to put down until the story had played out to the end. At times, it is quite disturbing, particularly when the extent of Annabelle’s obsession and the lengths she’s willing to go to in achieving her desired outcomes become increasingly clear – but it was the kind of disturbing that I relished and thoroughly enjoyed. A definite five stars from me, and an author I’d be delighted to read again.
About the author
Joy Wood has worked as a nurse most of her adult life and turned to writing six years ago to ‘see if she could.’ Her earlier work was adult romance and intrigue, but more recently she has switched genres to romance with a crime element. Joy lives in the small but charming seaside town of Cleethorpes in North East Lincolnshire and her writing ideas come from watching the tide turn daily, of course with the obligatory ice-cream – someone has to support the local economy!