The Girl Before
by JP Delaney
I can’t remember what prompted putting The Girl Before on my tbr list, but when it popped up at the library, I was excited to grab it. Well, it was a fantastic thriller. The writing was engaging, the plot intense, and the characters perfectly intriguing. I read this book in one night (albeit a long night), and enjoyed every creepy second.
The story is about a very unusual apartment owned by a very unusual man (a hot, rich, young man). The apartment is in a nice part of town, with cheap rent, that comes with pages and pages of rules to be followed by the tenant. The apartment’s design is extreme minimalism and every bare aspect must be maintained. The house has a high tech alarm/lighting/music/heating system that monitors the house and tenant (in part to keep them abiding by the rules). The story oscillates between two young women, Emma (the first woman), and Jane (the second woman), describing their experiences with the apartment and owner. Spoilers: Emma originally rents the apartment with her boyfriend, Simon, but before long their relationship gets strained and Emma breaks up with Simon. She falls for the owner, Edward, and they have a relationship for a while until one day Emma is found dead. Jane rents the apartment after all of this has happened. She is enchanted with everything and embraces the lifestyle. She has just had a stillborn baby and is struggling with getting back into life. She is also swept off her feet by Edward and the creepy thing is that she looks like Emma and both she and Emma look like Edward’s late wife, who was killed with their son in a car accident. Jane soon learns about Emma and starts asking questions. She wants to believe Edward is above board, but there are rumors he killed his wife and son and Emma. On the anniversary of Emma’s death, Jane meets Simon and they begin a friendship that involves trying to solve the mystery of Emma’s death. As they delve into the past, the apartment starts acting weird, giving Jane misgivings about her rental. On top of it all, Jane finds out she’s pregnant with Edward’s baby, worrying her that he’ll be angry. Finally Jane puts everything together. Edward is intense, but not a killer. He loved Emma and he’s never gotten over her, even with Jane. Simon never got over Emma either. He was distraught when she broke it off and was the one to kill her in the end. As the realization comes to Jane, she is put in a life and death situation with Simon and defends herself, killing Simon. Edward and Jane ultimately call things off when their baby is born with Down syndrome. Jane moves on, happy with with her baby boy and renting elsewhere, and a new young woman applies to live in the apartment!!
Summing it up: this book was so intense in such a good way. I loved it and I highly recommend it!
All the best, Abbey