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Wednesday 15 February 2017

‘The Girl Before’ by J. P. Delaney

Published by Quercus,
26 January 2017.  
ISBN: 978-1-78648-029-3 (HB).
978-1-78648-028-6 (TPB)

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life’

An odd, even intrusive request from your prospective landlord, and for each of the two women who answer it months apart, the consequences are devastating.

First there is Emma, who, trying to come to terms with a traumatic break-in at her previous flat, wants a new place to live. She finds One Folgate Street. A minimalist haven of pale stone, plate glass and high, soaring ceilings. But the enigmatic man who designed it wants full control over his tenants - no photos, no personal clutter of any kind, and a defined set of rules to live by.

Then later there is Jane. After a personal tragedy she needs a fresh start and is drawn to the now empty One Folgate Street. Moving in, she learns of the untimely death of the house's previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she treads the same path and makes the same unwise choices and experiences the same terror as the girl before.

They both enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection….but can they pay the price?

Told from the points of view of Emma (Before) and Jane (After), The Girl Before twists and turns and confounds expectations. In One Folgate Street, J.P. Delaney has created an eerie, compelling setting, and one which reflects the calculating and cold nature of its architect, the attractive and enigmatic Edward Monkford. The characters are well-drawn and the chilly, minimalist atmosphere of One Folgate Street is beautifully conveyed. The book is a haunting portrayal of obsessive behaviour with a large dollop of unreliable memories, meddling psychologists, toxic relationships and sexual domination.

A slick and polished thriller that really stands out in a crowded market. Bravo, J.P. Delaney!
Reviewer: Mary-Jane Riley

JP Delaney is the pseudonym of an author who has previously written award-winning fiction under other names.

Mary-Jane Riley wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter. She was eight. It was about a gang of children who had adventures on mysterious islands, but she soon realised Enid Blyton had cornered that particular market. So she wrote about the Wild West instead. When she grew up she had to earn a living, and became a BBC radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades. Then, in true journalistic style, she decided not to let the facts get in the way of a good story and got creative. She wrote for women's magazines and small presses. She formed WriteOutLoud with two writer friends to help charities get their message across using their life stories. Now she is writing psychological suspense, drawing on her experiences in journalism. The Bad Things by Mary-Jane Riley was published by Harper Collins/Killer Reads. Her second book, After She Fell, also published by Killer Reads, is out on April 28th.

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