Published by Penguin UK on October 19th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Women, Mystery & Detective, General, Thrillers, Legal, Psychological, Suspense, Crime
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**Preorder the new edge-of-your-seat psychological suspense new novel from Gillian McAllister now**Gone Girl meets Sliding Doors in this edge-of-your-seat thriller
Joanna is an avoider. So far she has spent her adult life hiding bank statements and changing career aspirations weekly.
But then one night Joanna hears footsteps on the way home. Is she being followed? She is sure it's him; the man from the bar who wouldn't leave her alone. Hearing the steps speed up Joanna turns and pushes with all of her might, sending her pursuer tumbling down the steps and lying motionless on the floor.
Now Joanna has to do the thing she hates most - make a decision. Fight or flight? Truth or lie? Right or wrong?
'The novel is ingenious . . . a beautiful and original book' Claire Kendal bestselling author of The Book of You'An expertly crafted novel full of drama and tension. . . An impossible feat accomplished with great skill. Bravo' Imran Mahmood author of You Don't Know Me
'An addictive, exciting and devilishly clever book . . . exceptional' Holly Seddon author of Try Not To Breathe
Gillian McAllister has been on my reading radar for so long – and she herself has been on my radar even longer; so much so that it kinda feels like we’re friends because I’ve followed her life on her blog BillyGean for so many years (pretty much since I started blogging originally). To see her flourish now, with Penguin, and have a second novel out to read makes me so happy for her, like a proud mother. While I may not have read Everything But The Truth (why are you like this, Leah?!) I loved Anything You Do Say. It’s such a clever, gripping read.
I’m a huge fan of dual narrative novels, where you make an error in judgement and suddenly two paths appear and it’s used so well in Anything You Do Say. Joanna is on a night out with her friend, when she’s harassed by a bloke at the bar. So much so that when she’s walking home, alone, and she hears footsteps behind her, she’s sure it’s him; that he’s coming for her and as she starts to walk down some steps to a tunnel, and he gets right up close to her, she pushes him and in that moment her life changes. On the one hand, we see what could happen if she comes clean, calls the police, reveals what she’s done and we also see what happens if she just goes – no one is around, no one has seen what she’s done, so she goes home and pretends like nothing has happened. The chapters alternate and you’re never quite sure which was the correct decision…
Anything You Do Say was an incredibly gripping read, but it also made me intensely nervous and paranoid. It’s the kind of thriller that no matter what decision Joanna made, there was no winning. Both narratives felt heavy, thick, cloying. You could feel everything crumbling, because as we learn, Joanna at her core is not a terrible person and so whether she’s facing what she’s done or trying to hide what she’s done, you can tell how deeply it impacts her. It’s so hard to know what I would do in that situation – unless you’ve been in that position, of walking home alone in the dark and hearing footsteps, you can’t understand that kind of fear. It’s awful, suffocating, wondering if something’s going to happen to you.
I think what I loved the most about this book was Gillian’s insider knowledge – she’s a lawyer! I know that’s not a catchall because for all I know she could do like family law, but she has a grip of what the law is, and so in each narrative it was intriguing to see the process. How the police deal with an attack where they have no suspects, no one to pin the blame on – what do you do? And then the flipside of how it all goes down if you confess to what you did. It actually baffled me how bad it seemed for Joanna to confess. It baffled me how bad her charges would be, for confessing! For getting help! You see drunk drivers who kill people get lesser charges for God’s sake, and it does really confuse me how backwards British law seems to be. How the same crime can be committed but different sentences handed down, but I did appreciate that insider knowledge.
I found Anything You Do Say to be incredibly gripping. Though be warned, this is not one of those thrillers that will ever make you smile, because Joanna is just in the worst of positions no matter what she does. I still don’t know which one I would pick. I have an inkling, because of the way things ended up panning out, but I don’t know. What I do know is that this is a high class thriller, with a high class concept. I will forever love novels that split into two. They are just so fascinating and this is, I think, the first thriller I’ve read to go down this road. I have massive respect for Gillian because as she says in her acknowledgements, she essentially wrote two books! In one! What a trooper. But she hit it out of the park and I was gripped from start to finish.