N J Fountain
Little, Brown Book Group
Her pain is constant. And the danger is real.
Monica suffers from chronic neuropathic pain. Every second of her life is spent in agony, and she is coping with it the best she can. However, there are whole years of her life which are a blur to her.
Then Monica finds a suicide note, in her handwriting, saying she is going to end it all. Did she write it? She has no memory of doing so and as she reads the message again, she begins to suspect that someone tried to kill her once – and now they’re trying to do so again…
This novel starts with a great hook – the reader is plunged into Monica’s world of constant nerve pain – for those who have never suffered nerve pain – it is a pain like no other, nothing relieves it, prescribed pain killers/ drugs mess with your mind, sleep is your only escape that is if you can manage to get to sleep. Monica’s pain is chronic and constant. I know this place that Monica inhabits, though my nerve pain is not as extreme and does eventual resolve itself.
And so we are introduced to Monica, to her pain, her unreliable memories, and her life. The discovery of a suicide note that she thinks she may or may not have penned adds to a constant suspicion the reader feels that there is something else going on here, something not quite right. This feeling grows stronger the longer we stay in Monica’s world. Monica is a wonderfully engaging, resourceful, heroic female protagonist.
I love the unreliable narrator. I love the twists and turns, they hit you with a knock out punch! The ending is superb.
All in all a great narrative, the unreliable narrator works its magic effectively and seductively – you just want to know what is really happening. I had the occasional short period of reading when I could no longer suspend my disbelief but these periods were minimal and I was able to continue my enjoyment of this script. This is a brilliant addition to my collection of domestic noir!