Amy Bartlett is a shy nineteen-year-old from Aberdeen, starting university
in Dundee. She is also on the road to a serious eating disorder, and her fear
of food compounds her shyness: Amy is unable to make friends and avoids social
gatherings where she will be tempted by food.
As a result, she’s just the kind of girl who is lonely, and needy enough
to start writing to a prisoner. After all, she’s met Jeff’s mother,
and she’s a nice lady, and says Jeff didn’t do anything serious,
so what’s the harm?
Jeff is one seriously disturbed individual. In prison for almost strangling
his ex-girlfriend to death, he’s been able to play the model prisoner
while still feeding his own twisted fantasies and, literally, getting away
What Amy doesn’t know is that Jeff is getting out of prison soon, and
he has her address…
This is a book with all the hallmarks to make it my kind of read. It’s
dark, disturbing, set in Scotland (one of my favourite places on earth) and
Davis has an impressive list of publishing credits, including true crime and
There is a lot of time spent in character development, and a long time is
spent setting the stage for what you know is inevitable. It was a bit of a
slow start but once the story clicked for me I couldn’t put it down.
Although you feel you know what’s going to happen Davis keeps you guessing
about the outcome and throws in some nice twists. This book is not meant to
be an action-packed thriller, but it is an intense psychological thriller
that builds up to a nail-biting level of suspense that kept me turning the
pages late into the night.
I think the reason SOB STORY required a bit of an adjustment was that it was
such an intense psychological study. In a way, this book is far more about
twisted minds. Amy’s social and eating problems, and her resulting therapy,
are well developed. A person could learn as much about what starts some girls
down the road to anorexia as they could about what contributes to sexual deviancy
through Jeff. The characters are completely believable.
This book could also serve as a commentary on how the criminal justice system
is failing to properly identify dangerous offenders who pose a risk to others
if released. It underscores the fact that not enough is being done to properly
screen these people when they’re sentenced.
Davis doesn’t pull any punches and weaves a convincing tale that is
frighteningly believable. Anyone who likes dark psychological thrillers should
check out her work – this is an author I definitely want to see more
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Sandra Ruttan's debut novel, Suspicious Circumstances, was released
in January 2007. Her short fiction has appeared in Out of
the Gutter, Demolition, Mouth Full
of Bullets, Crimespree Magazine, The
Cynic and Spinetingler. For more information
visit her website.
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