Thriller Book of The Month: Disclaimer
Renee Knight's compulsive debut is assured, masterfully plotted and near-impossible to put down.
Disclaimer is a smart, unpredictable domestic noir, one of those rare novels that sustains the excitement of its exceptionally dark premise over every single one of its pages, until its utterly unexpected and brilliant ending. It is a bold, intelligent and immensely impressive debut – one you will have to prise yourself away from.
As the novel starts, we meet a highly successful film-maker Catherine Ravenscroft who lives in London with her equally successful husband, Richard, and who seems to lead a near-perfect life. However, Catherine has just had a chilling surprise. A book has mysteriously appeared on her bedside table. On reading it, Catherine discovers it tells the story of a secret in her past, one she has kept buried for twenty years. It is the kind of secret that could destroy the life she has so meticulously built. Someone not only knows this secret, they are intent on using it against her.
The menace of the novel builds at a pace as the narrative flicks between Catherine’s point of view (the prey) and that of the predator’s, a particularly nasty, elderly schoolteacher named Stephen. We learn many secrets – both those kept by Catherine and her husband, and those that were kept by Stephen and his now dead wife. One of the main strengths of this novel lies in its deft exploration of the way jealousy, fear and love compel men and women differently.
Truths continue to come to light, and Catherine’s world falls apart but the suspense only mounts further; with nothing to lose, the prey turns predator and, without giving anything away, the novel then heads to an explosive conclusion.
Pacy, slick and inventive, Disclaimer is set to be one of the biggest titles of 2016.