Before I Let You In by Jenny Blackhurst
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Dr. Karen Browning has a new patient, Jessica Hamilton, and since her first session Karen knows something is wrong with her. She's not quite sure what, but she knows she has to protect her family against Jessica's threats. What does she really want?
"She was going to go home and lose herself in a book - she had a new one that had been recommended by pretty much every blogger whose opinion she respected and trusted, and she'd been waiting for the right moment to get stuck into it. Feeling slightly smug about how much better than her colleagues she was going to feel in the morning, she left the office without so much as a backward glance, but still keenly aware of the sidelong looks her friends were giving one another."
Jenny Blackhurst has created a psychological thriller full of secrets and twists.
Karen Browning has all her life compartmentalised; work, friends, lover... like her two best friends Eleanor and Bea, they share almost everything that happens in their life. The key word is "almost" when you stop trusting your nearest friends and you are scared of your life, you change completely and you see a threat in every corner... Will Karen be able to protect her best friends against this mystery woman?
Jessica is an enigma, we just know that she knows too much... What is she hiding? What she really wants to do with all the information she has? That's some of the questions that you will be asking since the first page... and of course the answers will be darker and more terrifying that the ones you can imagine, be prepared!
While we read about Bea, Eleanor and Karen, page by page we discover their secrets and fears, and how friendship can survive the most difficult moments in your life if you have the right person on your side. Are you?
In this book we will read about infidelity, rape and motherhood... Not easy words... and maybe motherhood doesn't seem scary to you, but try to spend a few days without sleeping at all and we'll talk again!
Before I Let You In has keeping me guessing about the why since the first page, and Jenny Blackhurst didn't disappoint me at all in the end, and quite an ending! If you are searching for a psychological thriller to read this Halloween, this is your book!
Have you locked your door?
Intrigued? Here's a deleted chapter from the author to make you prepare for the book! :)
Bea sucked a sharp breath in between her teeth as the pain reached an eye watering level. She had to keep walking, what with the total disaster she’d had with knocking the bottle of oil off the kitchen side this morning and not quite being able to face leaving it she was almost definitely going to miss the first bus. If she stopped now to sort out her ridiculously overpriced boots she’d miss the second.
This is why you should learn to drive. Funny, how when she lectured herself it was always in Karen’s voice. Karen had been saying she needed to learn to drive for years and she was right - Bea’s life would be a damn sight easier if she could. For a start she could drive to work barefoot and only put these debilitating boots on when she got there.
‘Oh hello,’ Bea greeted the black kitten who had appeared alongside her as though they met there every day. The kitten let out a mew and padded along next to her, it’s short stubby legs moving quickly to keep up with even Bea’s hobbling pace.
‘Best not to follow me chicken,’ Bea warned it. ‘The place I’m going is so boring you might not make it to your first birthday.’
The kitten purred and ran faster.
‘Shoo you stupid thing - get back to where you came from. It’s bloody freezing out here.’
The little black ball of fur cocked its head as though it understood exactly what she was saying and dropped back to sniff at a tuft of grass poking through a fence. Bea let out a relieved breath, she had a main road to cross before the bus stop and as much as she disliked cats she still wouldn’t want to see it getting flattened.
She walked faster now, the pain in her toe had dulled to a burning sensation, uncomfortable but no longer debilitating. She pulled her phone from her pocket to check the time - 7:59 - she might just make it. The last thing she wanted today was to be called into Gary’s office, not after the last time. She could still barely believe the things her boss had insinuated, the most insulting not that she might sleep with him to further her position in the company but that she didn’t have the brains to get anywhere if she didn’t. As if he were only hope. Tosser.
Bea couldn’t help but remember the feeling of shame that had coursed through her at Eleanor’s words the other day. ‘And if you decide to go through with it…’ or rather the shame of Karen’s reaction, her horror at the mere insinuation that Bea would even consider it. Because the truth was, she had considered it. And she’d like to say it was just for a second but the fact was she had seriously considered having sex with her boss as though the idea had been presented to her by a career officer. Because what if what he’d said was true? What if the only way she was going to advance was by giving him what he wanted? She’d never been the clever one - that was Karen, or the pretty one - that was Eleanor. She was the funny one. More popular than either clever or pretty she’d gotten through school cracking jokes and being one of the lads. Then, at college, she’d discovered fashion and make up and her extra pounds had shifted to the places that raised eyebrows rather than chuckles. She’d never be a wrist waisted model but she made up for that by making an effort. Now this with Gary had just brought home how lacking in the career-smarts department she really was. It had brought home a lot of things she’d rather forget.
A tiny noise at her feet pulled her from veering into the realms of self-pity. Bea looked down and narrowly avoided tripping over her miniature stalker.
‘Aw shit, not you again! Go home! I’m crossing here-’ she gestured at the main road that loomed ahead of them, ‘and you’re like two streets from home. What am I supposed to do, walk you back? I don’t even know where you came from.’
She gave the kitten a gentle nudge with her right foot in the hope it would get the hint. It didn’t, instead deciding to wrap itself around her foot and begin to purr.
‘Shoo! Go away!’ she leaned down and swiped a hand at it and it retaliated by jumping onto her bent knee and wrapping its front paws around her wrist, scratching at her hand with claws so tiny that it barely tickled.
‘Oh you stupid soft thing,’ Bea couldn’t resist giving the kitten a small scratch behind the ears and the purring increased to a small rumble. She felt for a collar but there was none. ‘What do I do with you now?’
She placed the kitten back on the ground and gave it a gentle shove in the direction from where it had appeared. ‘Go on. You can’t come with me. It’s dangerous this way. I work with assholes.’
Undeterred the cat continued on its mission to follow Bea to work. When they reached the main crossing she stopped again.
‘Go!’ she shouted, trying for the tough love approach. ‘Get out of here! Shoo!’ she stamped a foot at the cat, looking around hoping no one could see her and call the RSPCA. But it worked, he turned a tiny black face to her and looking sad and confused ran a few steps in the opposite direction.
She faltered a little at the crossing. She hated cats, why did she feel so bad? She chanced a look back in the direction of the kitten, the poor little thing looked totally lost now, standing in the middle of the pavement as though it had no idea which way home was.
For God’s sake!
She pulled out her phone again. 8:04. If she didn’t cross the road now she was definitely going to miss the bus. Except she knew she wasn’t crossing without making sure that bloody cat was safe. There was only one feasible option.
‘Pick up,’ she muttered, ‘pick up.’
‘Bea? Is everything okay?’ Karen sounded concerned, inevitable really - despite their close friendship they rarely ever called one another unless they needed something, all of their communication was text messages. Eleanor and Bea mostly Facebooked, making Karen’s refusal to join the 20th Century social media even more irritating.
‘I’ve got a bit of a stupid ass problem to be honest,’ Bea replied. ‘I’ve picked up a stray kitten on the way to work and it’s tried to follow me across the main road. I shooed it away but now it’s lost. I kind of didn’t want to just leave it here. Should I just leave it here?’
She desperately hoped Karen would tell her it was fine to leave the stray where it was, that cats were like homing pigeons and it would find its way home. That way she could still make her bus and walk away guilt free, absolved of responsibility by someone more knowledgeable on just about every subject than she was.
‘Has it got a collar?’
‘Where are you?’
‘Trent Road crossing.’
‘Okay fine, stay there, I’m just getting in the car anyway. I’ll drop it in at the vets on the way to work.’
‘Are you sure? Will you be quick? I’m going to be late as it is.’
‘On my way.’
Bea did feel a slight twinge of guilt at roping Karen in and probably making her late for work too, but what choice did she have? Karen wouldn’t mind. She enjoyed saving the day anyway.
Bea paced from foot to foot partly trying to keep warm and partly to find a position that didn’t make her want to tear her toes off to stop the pain. The kitten, seeing that she’d stopped trying to get away returned to wrap itself around her legs.
‘Here,’ Bea muttered, half kneeling down and putting out a hand to stroke its ears. It purred and pushed its head into her palm. ‘I don’t even like bloody cats.’
As if in defiance of her claim the kitten put its front paws up onto her knee and rubbed its entire body against her, purring louder now.
‘Come on Karen,’ Bea muttered, glancing at her phone again. There was no way Gary was going to accept this as an excuse for being late. Twenty minutes in that slimy creep’s office and she’d be wishing she’d let the cat get flattened.
The phone in her hand buzzed once and she swiped it, praying that it wasn’t Karen telling her she’d have to get the cat to the vets herself. Instead of her best friend’s name on the screen it was her sister’s, Fran.
You at work yet?
She tapped out a reply, the cold making her fingers mistype so often she had to compose the message three times.
Not exactly - cat emergency. Dont ask. Why?
A pair of headlights turned into the road and Bea vaguely made out Karen’s number plate in the distance. Her phone buzzed a reply.
Wanted to know what David Brent had to say 4 himself. U might be surprised today. Ur welcome xx ps - cat???
A shiver ran through her and she guessed it was dread rather than the cold this time. What had her sister gone and done now? She didn’t have time to reply to Fran’s message though, the car from the end of the road drew to a shuddering halt alongside her and the driver’s door opened revealing an exasperated looking Karen.
‘You’re a star,’ Bea said by way of apology. ‘I wouldn’t have called but I didn’t have a bloody clue what to do with the thing and you always know what to do.’
Karen grinned. ‘Yeah, yeah, flattery will get you everywhere. Come on kitty.’ She opened the door wider and gestured for the kitten to jump in. It jumped down from Bea’s knee and tottered across to the car, sniffed at Karen for a few seconds and rubbed itself against her legs.
‘Bloody turncoat,’ Bea muttered. ‘So much for the loyalty of animals.’
‘Get yourself to work,’ Karen laughed. ‘I hope you don’t get too much stick from that sleaze of a boss of yours.’ She scooped up the kitten and placed it on the passenger seat of the car.
‘What are you going to do with it?’
‘I’ll take it back to the street it came from, see if it goes in to any of the houses. If not I’ll take it to the vets and let them take care of it.’ Karen leaned forward and kissed Bea on the cheek. ‘I’ll call you later. Good luck.’
Bea took a last look at the kitten who was sniffing around the inside of Karen’s car as though they had been friends for years. ‘Thanks,’ and she turned around and started hobbling towards the bus stop leaving Karen to sort the problem out for her while she went to find out what kind of mess lay in store for her at work.