One of my favourite genres is psychological thrillers and, after reading this fabulous debut novel by Anna Snoekstra, I have been left wanting more.
On the 17th January 2003, Rebecca Winter finished a late shift at the McDonald’s restaurant in
Manuka, Canberra but somehow, between there and home, she disappeared, never to be seen again.
In 2014, an unknown young woman is caught shoplifting and, trying to save herself, tells the police that she is the missing Bec Winter.
As the imposter artfully insinuates herself into the Winter family’s lives, skilfully dodging the police questions by feigning confusion, it’s not long before she realises that something is seriously wrong and her own life may very well be in danger!
I have no doubt that, like the Black Saturday Bushfires of 2009, the 2003 Canberra Bushfires are probably still sadly etched in the minds of most Australians (but what a perfect backdrop on which to set the story of a missing person) and what intrigued me the most was the premise, as I wondered how Anna was going to pull it off – after all, how could a mother mistake someone else for her own daughter?
But pull it off she does, with the novel not only being lauded by bestselling authors Lisa Unger and Mary Kubica, but also heading for Hollywood after the film rights were sold to Universal Pictures and Working Title films.
Told in first person from the imposter’s point of view in the present and third person from Bec’s in the past, the reader gets a sense of who these two young women are, or were, and the utter fear they both experience, while discovering that not all is as it should be in the Winter household.
Written with clever twists and turns and skilfully creating an eerie, tension-filled atmosphere, Anna Snoekstra takes a timely subject and puts her own disturbingly chilling spin on it, displaying not only her creative writing abilities but also her screenwriting and cinema expertise.
With a surprise ending that I wasn't expecting, preceded by a final twist that will have the reader agape (which includes some graphic images), you’ll be forgiven for thinking that you’ve waded into a slightly tamer version of a Stephen King novel. I have, however, absolutely no hesitation in recommending this one to all those thriller lovers out there and cannot wait for the movie (The New Winter) to hit the big screen.
I wish to thank Harlequin Mira for providing me with a NetGalley proof for review.
About the Author
Anna Snoekstra was born in Canberra, Australia to two civil servants.
At the age of seventeen she decided to avoid a full time job and a steady wage to move to Melbourne and become a writer.
She studied Creative Writing and Cinema at The University of Melbourne, followed by Screenwriting at RMIT University.
After finishing university, Anna wrote for independent films and fringe theatre, and directed music videos. During this time, she worked as a cheesemonger, a waitress, a barista, a nanny, a receptionist, a cinema attendant and a film reviewer.
Anna now lives with her husband, cat and two housemates and works full time writing.
About the Book
Home can be the most dangerous place of all...
In this chilling psychological thriller, one woman’s dark past becomes another’s deadly future.
In 2003, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Winter disappeared.
She’d been enjoying her teenage summer break: working at a fast food restaurant, crushing on an older boy and shoplifting with her best friend. Mysteriously ominous things began to happen — blood in the bed, periods of blackouts, a feeling of being watched — though Bec remained oblivious of what was to come.
Eleven years later she is replaced.
A young woman, desperate after being arrested, claims to be the decade-missing Bec.
Soon the imposter is living Bec’s life. Sleeping in her bed. Hugging her mother and father. Learning her best friends' names. Playing with her twin brothers.
But Bec's welcoming family and enthusiastic friends are not quite as they seem. As the imposter dodges the detective investigating her case, she begins to delve into the life of the real Bec Winter — and soon realizes that whoever took Bec is still at large, and that she is in imminent danger.
Only Daughter will be published on the 22nd August but can be pre-ordered here.
Published: August 2016
Publisher: Harlequin Mira