The Arrangement - Miranda Rijks
Synopsis: Grace is living through every mother’s worst nightmare. Her student daughter Abi went away on a dream vacation - and was murdered.
Overwhelmed by grief, and fighting off old demons which have resurfaced, Grace tries to make sense of it – who would want to kill her beautiful girl?
But as she learns more about Abi’s life in the UK, she realises she didn’t know her own daughter very well. How did Abi acquire all those designer clothes? And what was she doing on those mysterious trips to London?
Grace desperately needs to find answers. But soon it becomes clear that someone doesn’t want her digging into Abi’s secret past. Someone who knows how to use Grace’s own weaknesses against her, sending her on a journey to the darkest hell…
My Thoughts: I always find reviews for suspense/ thriller novels the hardest to write. I always feel like there’s something that I’ll say that will end up spoiling it for someone else! I am going to try my absolute hardest to not contain anything in this review that could be seen as a spoiler (basically I won’t ruin the ending for anyone and that’s a promise), but please take this as a warning!
The prologue of the book is from the perspective of Abi’s killer. This is the only time the book is told from the perspective of the killer. For the rest of the book, the story is from the perspective of Grace, Abi’s mum.
After some digging, Grace finds out that Abi was on a Sugar Daddy website and was making loads of money from speaking to and meeting up with these older men. Grace thought she knew her daughter really well, but as she kept digging and digging into Abi’s life, she soon realised that she really didn’t know anything about her daughter at all. I liked the fact the murder took place in South Africa and the rest of it was in England, it made it more difficult for Abi’s family to get the answers they wanted.The South African police arrested someone on suspicion of Abi’s murder - a local with a history of crime, but Grace felt unsettled that it wasn’t him and there was more to it than the ‘random’ attack the police put it down to.
The stress and trauma of what’s happened make Grace slip back into some old habits she had previously broken (drinking and smoking) which I think is completely understandable, however this starts to push her other daughter away from her. As well as her own self destruction, Grace also receives threats from an unknown person. These threats were telling her to stop digging into Abi’s life and to just grieve for her loss. The threats came in the form of phone calls, a Snapchat from ‘Abi’s Ghost’, and cars following Grace and trying to knock her down. This is why she believed there was more to it than it being the random man from South Africa.
I read the book in two sittings and read about 50% of the book each time. The first half, before the plot started to unravel, I really enjoyed. I actually went to sleep that night and dreamt all night about the book and who Abi’s killer really was. In this first half I thought the plot was really strong and I was excited to see how it finished.
I didn’t not like the second half, but I did feel it was a little bit rushed. What I will say is that it did keep my brain guessing until the very last page. I had no idea how it was going to end, and the ending did come as a shock as Abi’s murderer was not who I thought they were going to be at all!
The thing I struggled the most with throughout this book was the sense of time. I was unsure how soon after Abi’s death all these events were happening, and the timings between the different events. I didn’t know whether it was days, weeks or months and that did leave me feeling a little bit lost at times.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. It was fast paced and although I’m not sure how many pages the book had, it seemed to be on the shorter side as I flew through it. The fact I was unable to guess the ending and some of the major twists and turns is also a massive plus. I’ve read similar books in the past and could quite easily guess what was going to happen, but I’m glad this one wasn’t the case!
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