Sunday, 5 February 2017

Review: Dare to Remember by Susanna Beard

2017  288 pages • Legend Press

Lisa Fulbrook’s best friend is dead – the victim of a brutal attack who fell to her death from her own apartment window. Lisa was there, she too was a victim of the attack that killed her best friend, and she is left with the physical and emotional scars to prove it. Traumatised by the events, Lisa flees to a country village to help settle her frightened mind. But what happened that night still torments her; she is plagued by vicious flashbacks and questions surrounding why she and her best friend Ali were targeted, because the one thing Lisa does know is that she can’t remember what really happened that fateful night. How did their assailant know them? Was it planned? More importantly, why were they attacked?

As I began to read Dare to Remember I had set myself up for reading a psychological thriller which the marketing for this book suggests it is. However, as the story went forward I found that it more of a psychological crime drama than a thriller. It’s still a page turner in the sense that the mystery behind Lisa’s story is gradually being pieced together, but this is a book that deals with the characters and not just simply the shock and awe factor. If you want a book where you feel the protagonist’s frustration and her own personal inner torment then I think this is something you might want to check out.

This is the kind of story that unravels gently and I found that whilst I was reading to find out how and why the crime took place, I was also reading to find out how Lisa dealt with moving on with her life in the aftermath of such a traumatic event. She moves to the country, she sees her therapist, and she starts to make friends in her new life all while trying to recover and remember details from her past. It’s a story that opens your eyes to how acts of terror and violence can affect people’s lives and how everyone deals with their own troubles in their own personal way. You experience Lisa’s psychological turmoil through a first person narrative that is taut and controlled. The prose allows suspense and intrigue but there’s a truth that lies beneath it all which gives the story credibility.

Susanna Beard, a debut author nonetheless, wrote this novel with care and control which subtly explores how although we may try and move away from what terrifies us, negativity still manages to seep its way in to our lives. This is the ying and yang of human life and how we cope with both the good and bad events which fall in to our paths and help to shape us. I felt this message flow strongly throughout this book – it’s full of raw emotion and frustration all woven around a mystery. If you enjoy thrillers with unreliable narrators I think you’ll enjoy this, but if you also prefer stories which focus on more character development then I also think this is worth checking out.

Overall rating: 3 stars

My copy of Dare to Remember was sent to me by The Bookbag and my review originally appeared on their website.

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