Book Review: "The Forever Home" by Sue Watson
5/5 - wickedly dark, clever and twisted...
I have a guilty pleasure for social thrillers. Thrillers in which a couple is undergoing a huge amount of changes and both of them have some sort of sociopathic behaviours going on. It is wonderful to see what the next writer does with this set up because there is always, and I mean always, something new and different to read within the sub-genre. There are all kinds of different elements that have their own standing within these novels too. Elements such as: horror, drama, tragedy, violence, romance, action and even at times there is a bit of comic relief thrown in there to lighten the mood a little. But, there is always a mix - it is never just a thriller. I used to have a friend who judged me harshly for reading this books because I am a literature graduate, I was supposed to read ‘smart books’ and ‘classics’ and not ‘chick flick thrillers’. I called it nonsense and carried on reading them because I enjoy them. It’s nice to get away for a bit into someone else’s world and read about a troubled marriage with so many problems unfolding. It’s like spying on and gossiping about a relationship that doesn’t exist. Sue Watson’s “Forever Home” brings something incredibly exciting to the genre - a couple that works on the realms of television who are now experiencing many problems behind the scenes, and the secrets are beginning to seep out.
Mark and Carly have been married for 25 years and the book opens with their anniversary party to which Carly is worried that Mark is late for. Carly spots her friend Lana talking to someone but she doesn’t know who - Lana is very clearly upset. Back inside, she notices that it is Mark, her husband that Lana is shouting at. Carly asks if they are having an affair but no they aren’t - it is actually a lot worse than that.
Mark works on television and so, he is always getting fan mail from different people. Carly writes his scripts and until now, they have been a pretty strong couple. But something is going on in there air of the anniversary party and that is extremely troubling. When the argument breaks out between Mark and Carly, there is nothing she can do but kick him out. But the press, the tabloids are going to want to know. Meanwhile, Phoebe and Jake - their children - don’t suspect a thing until their mother tells them. It is disturbing. It is not just a shock to anyone - but it is possibly one of the most traumatising pieces of information that the two of them could hear. As the story moves on though, it seems like anonymous faces begin to haunt the subject of this nightmare more and more. Security problems arise, people begin to panic and things get out of control in a psychodrama that is fit for a Brian De Palma film. An amazing and intense mix of social drama and the nightmare of life, Sue Watson brings to life some of the greatest security risks to our lives: anonymous online stalking, home invasion and most importantly, murder. But who will it be and when? Why will it be and how? Witness Carly drive herself mad and Mark try to drive himself back into the light as both of them climb down the rabbit hole of social despair. Apparently everyone wants to be famous - but not this time.
The book is an excellent example of modern thriller, implementing every aspect of modern life to create something that truly frightens us and makes us think about who we are sharing our lives and information with.