Dear Amy, Helen Callaghan – Book Review

I received Dear Amy in exchange for an honest review

I received this ARC a couple of months ago, and I have to admit I’d been dragging my heels and prioritising other novels ahead of this due to the distinctly average rating it has received so far on Goodreads. But, I finally got around to reading and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. I raced through this book; it’s a fun, fast-paced psychological thriller packed with unexpected twists that had me glued to the pages.

dearamy

The protagonist is Margot, a schoolteacher who also doubles as ‘Amy’, an agony aunt for the local newspaper. Aside from an impending divorce, her life is pretty humdrum until she starts receiving some mysterious letters from Bethan Avery, a girl who was abducted over a decade before.

Dear Amy,

I don’t know where I am. I’ve been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I’m afraid he’ll kill me.

Please help me soon,

Bethan Avery

Margot takes her first letter to the police but gets little interest. And yet they keep coming, and gradually she’s drawn into the web that surrounds Bethan’s mysterious disappearance. She is contacted by Martin Forrester, a criminologist at Cambridge University, the one person who seems to take the letters seriously, and together they embark on a mission to find out what happened to Bethan.

As the story continues it becomes clear that all isn’t as it first seems. In a big way. Just after halfway through there’s a huge, mind-bending twist, taking the story in an entirely different direction to where I thought it was going. I’ve seen some very varied comments regarding this twist but, personally, I’m happy to go with the flow and suspend disbelief a little when reading a novel like this – and that goes a long way to enabling me to just enjoy the story. Which I did. Yes, this novel is a little far-fetched at times, and some incidents seem a little too convenient, but it’s fun, addictive and it got me out of a mild reading slump I’d been falling into.

As well as being able to build a fun, fast-paced plot, it’s clear this author has a way with words too; her vivid descriptions conjure characters which jump off the page and it’s clear she has some kind of affinity with Cambridge as the town is beautifully brought to life.  There’s a lot to love about this book, and I think it’s received some unfair criticism for what is actually a strong debut which  stands on its own in the hugely popular psychological thriller market. I’ll be looking out for what this author does next, as I have a feeling Dear Amy is just the beginning.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Crime, Thriller

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