‘I know who you are’ by Alice Feeney.

Having read and LOVED Alice Feeney’s debut novel, ‘Sometimes I Lie’, I was delighted to spot her second book, ‘I know who you are’, at Crimefest this year. Would it live up to the twisty masterpiece of her first book? The short answer is, not quite, but it is very good – until a deeply divisive ending.

What’s it about?

Aimee Sinclair is an actress who is just beginning to make her mark. People recognise her, though they’re not quite sure from where, but one person knows more than anyone else: they know who Aimee used to be. They know what she did.

When Aimee’s husband goes missing, it’s obvious to the police that she’s hiding something from them, but is it what they think?

Aimee has a secret she’s never shared, but it seems someone knows. Is Aimee’s past about to destroy her?

What’s it like?

Twisty and compelling, this is a narrative that pulls you forward. Feeney uses short chapters and puzzling / shocking revelations to good effect. Her written style is a strength: lots of dialogue to move things forward quickly, and plenty of telling details sprinkled over the course of a highly engaging story.

It’s obvious from the start that the two narratives – from Aimee the actress and 5 year old Aimee – are going to be closely related and I enjoyed the semantic links Feeney made between the two narratives at the ends and opening of chapters.

I was gripped by the storyline, though poor Aimee really does have a terrible childhood. Feeney describes Aimee’s situation in quite a matter-of-fact way, using a 5 year old’s naïveté to emphasise the horror with light touches:

’He comes into my room sometimes at night. I think he must be worried about me being too hot or something, because he always takes the duvet off the bed.’

As the story progresses, the twists are fuelled by plenty of violence, abuse of various kinds and, finally, a serious ick factor.

Final thoughts

In a story as twisty as this one, you’re always waiting for the next Whoa! moment, but the ending takes this too far, ending with one major revelation that is, frankly, insane, and one puzzle that is, to me, incomprehensible.

I found this a compelling read, though Aimee’s painful lack of self-confidence becomes a little irritating towards the middle part of the book, but definitely felt like I was missing a crucial detail at the end of the story. I felt the same way at the end of ‘Sometimes I Lie’, but I really liked the final twists, whereas the final twists in ‘I know who you are’ involved suspending my disbelief too far.

I will certainly be looking out for Alice Feeney’s next book and hoping that I can fathom the ending!

’I know who you are’,
Alice Feeney,
HQ, 2019, paperback