⇒”… a beautiful marriage turns beautifully bad.”⇐
**Many thanks to NetGalley, Park Row Books, and the author for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Author: Annie Ward
(3.81 stars – Goodreads rating)
Genre: Fiction / Suspense / Psych Thriller
Format: Kindle Version
Publish Date: March 5, 2019, by Park Row Books
Pages: 384 (Kindle version)
Are you hiding something? It’s so simple. It’s so direct. It’s almost uncanny. As if someone out there knows I’m not supposed to be thinking the things I’m thinking.
One of the things that can easily ruin a suspenseful book for me is if I can figure out how the book is going to end even before I get too far into it. I’m not omniscient nor do I have any form of ESP, but sometimes plots are so cookie-cutter you can predict the conclusion long before you read the final chapter.
Thankfully, Beautiful Bad was not one of those books. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads…
Things that make me scared: When Charlie cries. Hospitals and lakes. When Ian drinks vodka in the basement. ISIS. When Ian gets angry… That something is really, really wrong with me. Maddie and Ian’s romance began with a chance encounter at a party overseas; he was serving in the British army and she was a travel writer visiting her best friend, Jo. Now almost two decades later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in Middle America. But when a camping accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending writing therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian’s PTSD; her concerns for the safety of their young son, Charlie; and the couple’s tangled and tumultuous past with Jo. From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, sixteen years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 911 call summons the police to the scene of a shocking crime.
Ian was a damage junkie, and I was out of order in a way that got him off.
This book is ideal for lovers of suspense, drama, and twisted love triangles- it has it all, plus an underlying love story between some seriously damaged people.
It’s hard to talk about this trippy book without giving some meaty tidbits away. I refuse! I want you to have the same experience I had while reading it- picking through the landmines of drama and subterfuge that Beautiful Bad has to offer.
I adored him, as damaged as he was. I found him all the more fascinating for the chunks that had been torn out of him.
Written in a multi-perspective style that counts down to “The Day of the Killing”, readers end up jagging back and forth in time and in and out of locales foreign and domestic, including the Balkans, New York, England, and Kansas. And if the time travel and relocations don’t keep you on your toes, the messy love triangle and intense personal dramas will.
Have I said it yet? This is a good book. Almost none of its main characters are damage-free, so they’re entirely unreliable. There is no one to trust with this story, least of all the ones telling it! However, the story is only made better by all of its uncertainty.
I don’t just say whatever pops into my head. I may be glitchy, but I’m mostly in control.
Beautiful Bad is a gritty thriller that doesn’t appear that way at first. There are a few triggers that sensitive readers should be aware of: PTSD is a big one, alcoholism, domestic abuse, and miscarriage. The violence isn’t gratuitous, but there is some brutality- this ain’t a romance novel, folks.
Annie Ward, thank you for this deliciously suspenseful novel with an unpredictable ending that’s one step beyond twisted; it’s warped!
During Annie’s five years in the Balkans she received a Fulbright Scholarship, taught at the University of Sofia, and script doctored eight screenplays for Nu-Image, an Israeli/American film company that produced a number of projects in Bulgaria for the SyFy Channel. She was later the recipient of an Escape to Create artist residency. –Bio adapted from Goodreads.