Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward
368pgs
5 Stars

In the most explosive and twisted psychological thriller since The Woman in the Window, a beautiful marriage turns beautifully bad.

Things that make me scared: When Charlie cries. Hospitals and lakes. When Ian drinks vodka in the basement. ISIS. When Ian gets angry… That something is really, really wrong with me.

Maddie and Ian’s romance began with a chance encounter at a party overseas; he was serving in the British army and she was a travel writer visiting her best friend, Jo. Now almost two decades later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in Middle America. But when a camping accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending writing therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian’s PTSD; her concerns for the safety of their young son, Charlie; and the couple’s tangled and tumultuous past with Jo.

From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, sixteen years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 911 call summons the police to the scene of a shocking crime.

I feel many of the thrillers written today all have the same basic structure and are becoming quite predictable. I’ve read several thrillers recently and I must say, I have not been impressed. That is not the case with this book.

The book is written from several perspectives and on several different timelines. It is slightly confusing at first, but once the story gets rolling, it’s easier to follow.

The first chapter begins with Maddie’s recent past and she is considering seeing a psychiatrist. As the story progresses, the timeline moves closer to “The Day of the Murder” which also begins in the second chapter. “The Day of the Murder” is also visited as another perspective through the book and has the 911 call that the reader later revisits toward the end of the story. We also see the story through Maddie’s past, years ago, when she was a traveling writer and explore her relationship with her best friend Jo. We are also introduced to her husband Ian during their first encounters and follow their growing relationship.

The author does a wonderful job of making this story completely realistic. As if this story could be based off of someone’s true life. It was well written and though I wouldn’t use a word as strong as “hooked”, I definitely found myself engaged with the story. I found it entertaining and interesting.

Book endings are always a big deal for me. I hate when I invest the time in a book only to have the ending be anticlimactic or predictable. The ending to this book was not disappointing. Even though towards the end, I found myself guessing several scenarios, it still had just enough of a twist that the ending was fantastic.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a different type of thriller.

Thank you for reading!
-V

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