Journalist Melanie Black wakes up next to a stranger (Peter) who doesn’t even acknowledge that she exists. You could be forgiven for putting his behaviour down to typical morning-after awkwardness, but it turns out there’s a more chilling reason as to why he acts like Melanie isn’t there. It’s because she isn’t. She’s dead. Not only is she dead, but her ghost is trapped in the home of her suspected murderer, his wife, and their young child, none of whom have any idea that Melanie is a silent observer to their inner most secret behaviour.
The first couple of chapters are a little slow as Melanie comes to terms with life after death, but things pick up once we learn more of her backstory. Melanie wasn’t exactly a nice person. In fact, she was ruthless. It’s unusual to not always root for the protagonist, particularly when they’re presented as the victim, but hit shows like How to Get Away with Murder have proven that it’s not always a necessity to find the main character likeable in order to enjoy the story, and that’s the case here.
Peter, Melanie’s potential murderer, is a deeply disturbed and controlling man. The scenes describing his treatment of his wife Eve are genuinely tense, and the narrative benefits from allowing Melanie to provide a fly on the wall perspective as she pieces together what exactly happened to her, and how she will get revenge. Of particular enjoyment are the segments where Melanie’s murder is reported on the news by her former colleagues which add a further dimension to the setting and fuels Melanie’s frustration at hearing from the outside world trapped from a house that she cannot leave. It’s no surprise that these sections are perhaps the strongest given the author’s former occupation as a press officer for South Wales Police, but equally satisfying is watching Melanie execute an elaborate plan of revenge on the man who ended her life.
An enjoyable debut that turns the whodunit genre on its head and catapults B.E. Jones firmly into the ‘one to watch’ category.
WHERE SHE WENT: CLOSER THAN YOU THINK / AUTHOR: B.E. JONES / PUBLISHER: CONSTABLE / RELEASE DATE: JULY 27TH