When Alex leaves the army, he and Juliet move into a new, large home in a leafy part of London with their 5-year-old son, Ben. Juliet is glad to finally settle down after having to move every few years, but Alex isn’t so sure. When they first got together, Alex was a fairly controlling guy, but since returning from Afghanistan he has become worse, much worse.
What makes this book work is that you get both Juliet and Alex’s points of view (in pretty much alternating chapters). Neither character is particularly likeable, and both are damaged and manipulative. Alex, suffering from severe PTSD but not willing to accept help, is violent and extremely controlling; Juliet is manipulative and sometimes triggers Alex’s PTSD on purpose. But by hearing from both of their viewpoints you can have empathy with both, particularly in the case of Alex, as his dangerous behaviour does naturally make it more difficult to see his side. I also felt the balance was pretty well struck between empathising with Alex and showing how his behaviour is not at all ok. (This book doesn’t shy away from violence – you are made to look at it square in the face.)
The twist towards the end is pretty obvious, but that does add to the sense of dread in a way – you spend a few chapters just waiting for the horrible inevitable (and internally yelling at the character in question for not seeing the inevitable too).
It’s a fast-paced, quick read, but a dark one.
Who Are You? is released 1st July 2014.
I received a free copy of Who Are You? from Cutting Edge Press in exchange for an honest review.