Wednesday 14 August 2019

Beautiful Bad

Finished August 5
Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

This psychological suspense novel has three timelines. One takes place on an evening when an emergency call is received at a suburb in Kansas starting with the call. One begins decades before when Maddie worked overseas teaching and writing and first met her now-husband Ian. The other is recent events taking place in Maddie's life, particularly her time with a therapist, leading up to the call she makes.
Maddie always wanted to escape her boring life growing up in small town Kansas. She studied languages, and began working at various jobs overseas. She met her best friend Jo at school where the two connected instantly. Jo became an aid worker, and as their story develops from a time where Jo was working in Macedonia and Maddie in nearby Bulgaria, we see how their estrangement began. It was there they met a number of young men in the British military, one of whom Ian developed a relationship with both women, eventually marrying Maddie as we know from the more recent timeline.
This is another story with unreliable narrators, where we aren't sure who to trust. Why is Jo angry with Maddie, and what happened between them to create the later rift. Do Ian's military and para-military experiences lead him to have violent tendencies? How does his PTSD affect him? What is Maddie's life like with her husband and young son? What happened the night they were camping?
There's a lot going on here, and a lot of uncertainty. All you really know is that something bad has happened, and it isn't over yet.

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