Title: Beautiful Bad
Author: Annie Ward
Publisher: Park Row
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Page Count: 368
My rating: 3 1/2 stars
About the book:
In the tradition of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train comes the psychological thriller everyone is talking about, a twisted novel about a devoted wife, a loving husband, and a chilling crime that will stun even the cleverest readers. There are two sides to every story… And every person. Maddie and Ian’s love story began with a chance encounter at a party overseas, while she was a travel writer visiting her best friend, Jo. Now almost two decades later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in Middle America. But when a camping accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending writing therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian; her concerns for the safety of their young son; and the couple’s tangled and tumultuous past with Jo. From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, sixteen years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 911 call summons the police to the scene of a shocking crime.
Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward is a psychological thriller that goes behind the facade of what looks on the outside to be a perfect family. The story within is one that is told from various points of view and various timelines actually starting off at the present when police arrive to a crime scene.
The present story has readers on the edge as the police get a call from a frantic woman who gets cut off before giving a hint to what is going on. Then upon arrival find a lot of blood and the search and investigation begins to find out just what happened.
The rest of the novel alternates in various points of Maddie and Ian’s lives, how they met, the time apart, when they finally come together as a couple, getting married and having a child and all events leading to the police arriving on their doorstep in the present.
With Beautiful Bad I honestly would have to warn away anyone that prefers a clean one timeline/one point view type of story as this one was one that is very complicated. Sometimes I find books of this nature easy to follow but while I understood what was going on I couldn’t help but ask myself was all of this actually needed? The story in the present was quite compelling and the end was a solid wrap up but the middle seemed to want to want to wander the scenic view through the past that got a bit slow leaving me to rate this one at 3 1/2 stars.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
ANNIE WARD has a BA in English Literature from UCLA and a MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute. Her first short screenplay, Strange Habit, starring Adam Scott was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and the Grand Jury Award winner at the Aspen Film Festival. She has received a Fulbright Scholarship and An Escape to Create Artists residency. She lives in Kansas with her family.