Tragedy brought them together. The truth will tear them apart.
It’s supposed to be Laura’s dream holiday: a trip to France with a group of friends to see their favourite band play live. But the holiday quickly turns to disaster, and Laura is left haunted by terrifying images from the worst night of her life.
When Laura finds an online support group for victims like her, she’s not convinced it will help. But when Sandrine replies to her message, she seems to understand what Laura’s going through, in a way that no one else can.
Soon, Laura and Sandrine are sharing their deepest thoughts and feelings with each other. But one of them has a terrible secret – she isn’t who she says she is. And once the twisted truth is revealed, there’s no going back…
I am delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour today for The Silent Friend by Diane Jeffrey. My thanks to Emma Welton of damp pebbles blog tours for inviting me to take part and to the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
I have become a little bit jaded with the psychological thriller genre of late. There seem to be a lot of books out there that are very similar, with similar looking covers and titles, and I wonder how many stories there are left to tell. I appreciate I may be in the minority here, as publishers wouldn’t keep putting them out if they weren’t still popular, but in my private reading I’ve tended to stop picking them up and I’m looking for something different. If I had been choosing this book for myself based on title, cover and blurb, rather than taking part in a blog tour, I might have skimmed over this book for this reason, but that would have been a massive shame, because this is a standout book in the genre, and so different as to tone, plot and message, that I don’t think the label ‘psychological thrilller’ even does it justice in describing what it is or the places it will take you.
I am not sure how well I can describe the book without giving away spoilers which might mar the reading experience for you. The publishers have been very careful in the blurb to avoid giving away a major plot point on which the whole book pivots and I don’t want to reveal it, because I think you should go into the book naive as I did to get the full impact of the story. However, that makes it very hard to talk about what I loved about this book in any detail, so forgive me for being vague from hereon in.
This is a story of two women who have different roles in a tragedy, and who are having to come to terms with it from completely different perspectives, but some of the problems they are dealing with are the same. So, they have some common ground on which to base a friendship of mutual understanding and support. However, one of them is not being honest about who they are and their part in events. Can a friendship built on a lie survive?
This is a story about dealing with a horrifying event, and how people recover and deal with the aftermath. there is pain and guilt and sorrow and PTSD. There is the concept of blame. Who should shoulder it, how does society mete it out and how do the people at who a finger is pointed weather the storm? The book deals very sympathetically with some complicated but relevant issues and I was extremely impressed with the author’s framing of the questions and how she resolved them. I liked the way that she avoided over sensationalising the subject, and the empathy she had with both women. The book is intelligently written and sympathetic rather than shocking for the sake of it, and it really pulled me in and made me feel the emotions of both women. I think it is a masterclass in how to write a psychological thriller that goes to the next level; that takes the genre to a place of really saying something interesting and illuminating. It made me feel like the time I spent reading it had garnered rewards beyond the simple pleasure of a good story.
I read this book in almost a single sitting (only sleep getting in the way), I was so engrossed in the story. The characters were really well drawn and both relatable and sympathetic, which is a great achievement as you will understand when you read it. It managed to be a gripping and urgent read without any huge setpieces beyond the central event which happens early one, which is testament to the skill of this author’s writing. I was hugely impressed with every aspect in this book and have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending it to lovers of psychological thrillers and anyone who likes a thought-provoking and intelligent piece of fiction.
The Silent Friend is out now as an ebook and audiobook, and will be published in paperback later this year. You can buy a copy here.
Please do check out some of the other blogs taking part in the tour:
About the Author
Diane Jeffrey is a USA Today bestselling author.
She grew up in North Devon and Northern Ireland. She now lives in Lyon, France, with her husband and their three children, Labrador and cat.
Diane’s is the author of four psychological thrillers, all of which were Kindle bestsellers in the UK, the USA, Canada and Australia.
THE GUILTY MOTHER, Diane’s third book, was a USA Today bestseller and spent several weeks in the top 100 Kindle books in the UK.
Her latest psychological thriller, THE SILENT FRIEND, is set in Belfast and Lyon. It was published in ebook in November 2020 with the paperback and audiobook to follow in 2021.
She is currently working on her fifth psychological thriller.
Diane is an English teacher. When she’s not working or writing, she likes swimming, running and reading. She loves chocolate, beer and holidays.
Above all, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
Connect with Diane:
Facebook: Diane Jeffrey Author