I used to be an avid reader. I use the past tense because these days life’s too hectic to unwind with a good book, unless I’m editing it. Growing up, I was a shy and timid child and my one true escape was through reading, romance novels and thrillers in particular.I remember my mom used to be worried about me not making friends; to her hanging out indoors every day, getting lost in the pages of a book wasn’t healthy. I didn’t care, through the books I’ve read I could escape to a world that was mine, where I’m the heroine, the one that got the happily ever after.
One of the reasons I don’t really read novels or thrillers anymore is my haste to finish it. I can’t read a book over a few days as I’m curious about the ending. Funny enough, my mom is the same. A week ago she finished four books in a week, and that’s excluding the weekend. She even skimmed through to read the ending because the suspense was just too much, it was such an adorable sight. I often sacrifice my sleep in order to finish a book; not that the sweet escape of sleep comes easy. Last night I started reading “Rebound” by Aga Lesiewicz (her first novel), my first introduction to her work and boy oh boy am I hooked. I stayed up until 02:00 to finish it and spend another 2 hours pondering on the sheer brilliance of it and fell asleep at 04:30. As I’m writing this, I’m in zombie mode, totally worth it.
What attracted me to the book wasn’t the title, even though it was right up my alley, or the cover design, which I love because of the eeriness. No, what attracted me was one simple line, “I’m not a bad person, but maybe I did a bad thing.” One line and I was hooked, I needed to know more. The reason why that line spoke to me on such a personal level is because I often feel that way and I know most human beings are wired that way too. We’re not bad but we do bad things, does that make us bad people?
Life is good for Anna Wright. She’s a successful media executive working for one of the UK’s largest TV corporations. She’s got a great boyfriend, some close friends and a lovely home. She adores her dog, Wispa, and she loves to run to help her de-stress.
But Anna’s perfect life starts to crumble from the moment when, out jogging on the Heath one day, she meets a handsome stranger. She takes a route into unfamiliar territory, and then she has to face the consequences.
There’s a dark, growing creepiness as the atmosphere becomes unsettled and, as Anna’s professional life becomes increasingly pressured and poisonous, her obsession with the intriguing stranger intensifies.
The prologue grips you in the very beginning where Anna’s being chased and throughout the book you’re looking for that specific scene just to find out who’s chasing her.The outcome is quite unexpected; it’s not a murderer or rapist or some serial killer, it’s just…(read the book to find out who;cruel… I know) The protagonist, Anna is a 30-something year old career woman and the story plays off in Highgate, London where she lives with her dog, Wispa. The entire storyline leads up to a certain event so instead of “chapters”, there are “seven days before” etc. Usually I’d find it extremely boring as it’s basically “Anna goes to work”, “Anna hangs out with her friends”, “Anna walks/runs her dog” but Aga ensured that there’s just enough to keep you interested throughout. The most interesting part, for me, was the mystery man or “Dior Man” as he’s been referred to and it’s quite shocking to find out who he actually is, not a happily ever after there. Aga is quite descriptive and I felt as if I went on every run with Ana, experiencing everything as it’s happening to her. The explicit/PG scenes made me feel as if I were there, an onlooker to something that “good people’ would find utterly repulsive and refer to as “the bad things I did.”
Every new character that were introduced posed a possible threat with neighbour Tom literally sending off warning bells in my head along with his wife Samantha.Anna’s friendships are special and with genuine people who care about her even though she tends to get a bit selfish and self-involved. We see her break up with boyfriend James after 3 years and him taking it seemingly well. The breakup is a result of her own quest for more, not the cuddly-teddy bear types James seem to portray eventhough she’s the envy of many women that work with and had seen James. He seem to take it well and are spotted with a gorgeous blonde soon thereafter. Belle, her best friend wants her to stay single for a while and find herself but it just seem to attract a few suitable, or so she thought, candidates. We also get a glimpse into the relationships of her friends and how they find their soul mates before tragedy strikes.
The main or “thriller” part of the story revolves around a serial rapist that targets female joggers in Anna’s favourite park, leading to two devastating murders, a small suspect pool and how this all leads back to Anna and decisions she made earlier on in the story. She finds love, unexpectedly and not from the person you’d expect, in the end.
This is truly a gripping story and I couldn’t put the book down. I read for 3 hours straight, no snack or water breaks with the occasional response to Whatsapp messages to prove I’m still alive. I’ve related to Anna in so many ways, from the field she works in, relationship with her dog, small circle of friends, occasional disastrous love life and ” bad things that good people do” situation. I’m looking forward to reading more of Aga’s books and would definitely recommend you to add this to your reading list.