With Malice by Eileen Cook
Published June 9, 2016 by Hot Key Books
Source: Allen & Unwin
Rating: 2 stars
From the blurb: When Jill wakes up in a hospital bed with her leg in a cast, the last six weeks of her life are a complete blank. All she has been told is that she was involved in a fatal accident while on a school trip in Italy and had to be jetted home to receive intensive care. Care that involves a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…. wasn't just an accident.With no memory of what happened or what she did, can Jill prove her innocence? And can she really be sure that she isn't the one to blame?
With Malice by Eileen Cook tells the story of eighteen year old Jill Charron. While on a trip to Italy an accident occurred involving her and her best friend, Simone. Jill survived and has woken to find herself back in the USA and without memories of the past 6 weeks. It turns out the Italian authorities, as well as the American public, are blaming her for Simone's death and saying it was planned.
When a book is billed as being "a chilling psychological thriller" I expect that and this story did not deliver. There was no suspense, it was not chilling, and it didn't feel like a thriller at all. It felt like a very slow reveal and then an anti-climatic ending.
I can't quite put my finger on what bothered me about this book, but I think it was a number of things that when added together, just left me unimpressed.
The characterisation seemed weak. The story is told from Jill's perspective but I was never really sure who she was. Sure, she's lost some memories, but she had seventeen years before her memory loss, and even she seemed to question herself. She's mean, judgemental, selfish, and I felt nothing for her.
As well as Jill's thoughts, the story is helped along by news articles, blog posts, comments, police interviews, and emails. At first I thought this would be a good addition to the story, but it turns out they just doubled up the information dumping. First I'd read an article and then I'd have to read Jill's thoughts on how she had just read the same article.
It's hard to talk about anything else without spoiling this for other readers, but overall this was nothing like what the blurb promised and not at all like books I've seen it compared to eg. We Were Liars.
Ableist language: dumb, spaz
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for my review copy.