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  • Paranoid

    Great thriller! Lisa Jackson doesn’t disappoint, loved her flawed characters and evil twists

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  • A First-rate Read!

    Lisa Jackson writes a sterling, top-notch novel that deals with some serious issues in this gripping psychological thriller awash with glorious tropes of well-kept secrets, infidelity, ghosting, revenge, menace, paranoia, guilt, deceit and lies. Fifteen-year-old Rachel Gaston and her friend Lila, along with her older half-brother, Luke and a huge crowd of their classmates are planning a teenage game of cat-and-mouse believing they will be using soft pellet guns. Hoping they won't be caught by their parents, they all sneak out of their respective homes late at night and meet up at the eerie and spooky fish cannery warehouse. The fun and excitement begins in the darkness but in the confusion and mayhem something goes badly wrong and Luke is injured. He is taken to hospital but is deemed to be dead. Rachel was nearby at the time of the accident and believes that she fired the deadly shot but her memories of the precise course of events that night are vague, confused, jumbled and hazy. All of the schoolkids gave statements stating that it may or may not have been Rachel that fired the deadly bullet in the midst of all the mayhem. But if it was not Rachel, then who was it? Ever since that horrendous time, Rachel (Gaston) Ryder has suffered from terrible trauma and horrific nightmares, despite receiving counselling. Now, twenty years on, her friend Lila is determined to hold a class reunion, though many of them don't want to live through those terrible times again and need no reminding. Her anxiety contributed to her divorce from Detective Cade Ryder, though he blames himself too. When connections surface between new murders and Luke’s death, Rachel realises there’s no escaping from the past and the truth may be darker than her worst fears. As Rachel’s high school reunion nears, she feels her imagination playing tricks, convincing her that objects in her house have moved. Then there’s a hint of unfamiliar cologne in the air. Added to that, she suspects that someone is tailing her car, as well as watching her home. Paranoid definitely did not disappoint! It had everything I would expect from a first-class psychological thriller - a great plot, well-drawn characters and terrific pacing. Even though I have read quite a few books with a similar premise to this one - Paranoid really stood out for me. It was a great delight to read, with an abundance of fascinating characters, but I think I just about managed to keep track of all of them without being overwhelmed! As well as Rachel and the watchful and vigilant Cade, there was seventeen-year-old Harper Ryder, reckless and impetuous; furtive and smart, fifteen-year-old, Dylan Ryder; and self-centred, persuasive and Lila (Kostas) Ryder. It was these characters that stoked not only the main plot with excitement and high drama but also the sub-plots and added vivacity to the twists and turns that kept me completely enthralled. I really appreciated the smooth writing style of Lisa Jackson and it was easy to connect with the characters - to imagine them, sympathise with them, love or hate them. There was oodles of suspense and it was definitely an enthralling reading experience that had me hooked throughout. The action and pacing really picked up in the second half of the story which was a deft touch by Lisa Jackson, paving the way for an enthralling denouement. I would love to read more from this gifted story-teller and I have plans to read another of her books - Liar Liar - in the near future. I am happy to recommend Paranoid and do so without any hesitation. I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Mulholland via NetGalley at my request and this review is my own unbiased opinion.

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