Book Reviews

How Far Would You Go For The Truth?

Title: Undertow
Author: Elizabeth Heathcote
Release date:
September 1st 2016
Publisher: Quercus
Format: eARC
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A dead woman is brought onto the beach by the sea and found by a little girl and her mother.
Miles from there, happily married Carmen and Tom live in the city. What is the link?

No need to grill me, I admit this book is a cover choice. That blue is mesmerizing. Now that I think of it, I could have picked it for Halloween, and not just because of the cover. If some of us find happiness in magic worlds or intergalactic wars, I get all the feelings from psychological thrillers. I ain’t scared of monsters! Except when they look and sound like your husband.

Carmen is finally happy. She almost has it all. A nice apartment in London, a handsome and caring husband, and step kids to take care of on weekends. Yes, she was made redundant because of the economic crisis but free time is a good thing, right? Well, it depends on what you do with all those hours.

The worst had happened and all was calm and all was clean.

The perfect blended family and couple bliss image take a hit when a remark by a strange about a murder makes Carmen think about her husband Tom’s past. It all happens quite early in the book, and from that moment on, I could not put it down. Tom had confessed it all to Carmen a long time ago. How his marriage had ended, how he had met Her, younger, beautiful, how he used to take her to St Jude’s just like they did now with the kids, how she had gone missing and been found later, dead on the beach. But knowing about it does not mean you are not curious.

For once, there is no big secret hovering over heads and fears of a happy bubble exploding. Many elements are in the open air, known to the main character, and when I thought it would only take the thrill away, I was proven wrong. How so wrong! Knowing a truth does not mean you know the whole truth, and this is what the book is about. How much do you say to make people believe you? How much do you keep hidden, stored away in a box? And why is the entire story better left unsaid? These are the questions I kept asking myself while devouring chapter after chapter. I was growing more curious with every page while Carmen was getting more puzzled with every hour.

One remark, it is all it takes to create a doubt. Suddenly words turn into doubts, and your mind won’t snap out of it. A word, a look, a question unanswered, and a woman’s mind goes wild. One thing leading to another and before you realize it you are making every possible scenario in your head. From there goes the snowball effect. I am not saying we all are crazy paranoid beings ready to jump on our better halves at the first sign of something sketchy (says the girl who made a scene about a lipstick stain on a towel before noticing she was wearing the same shade of lipstick on her lips that same day… :p) But the right circumstances and a series of details can lead to something so much bigger than you could ever imagine.
The shady husband trope is my thing. Husbands make for the perfect suspect, and Tom is a brilliant lawyer, a loving father, and a wonderful character to doubt.

How quickly life swallowed death.

I love that Carmen’s suspicions are all based on substantial details, leaving the reader questioning her mindset and sanity. Is it okay to erase something from a computer? I do it every day, does that make me a killer? Is forgetting to mention something a lie? I warmed to Carmen very early on, when her life was all about what to eat and how to keep the kids busy, and it was very interesting to see the impact of the events on her decisions and actions. Every character is portrayed in a way that makes them real, sometimes relatable, sometimes despicable, but always real. Tom and the children are no simple secondary characters, and the family ties are strongly represented, giving the story a heavier tone. After all, all families are complicated!

So many questions came in waves as I was scrabbling to reach the end. I doubted everything, and even though I managed to get a couple of answers before the end, the steady pace kept me on my toes and the race of the last pages left me breathless.

Undertow is a strong psychological thriller using our deepest fears and playing with the —sometimes blind — trust we put in others. It will make you think twice about what you think you know and keep you turning pages long after curfew!

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

38 thoughts on “How Far Would You Go For The Truth?”

  1. Ohhh awesome! I hadn’t even considered this because it didn’t catch my attention, but now I’m intrigued 😀

    “Husbands make for the perfect suspect, ” ALWAYS. I always think it’s them XD


  2. Undertow sounds great. Everything seems to have worked out well in the book. The pace, characters and suspense. I hadn’t heard of the book before this review but will definitely check it out. Great review Donna.Now about the lipstick on the towel….glad that was sorted though lol we all do have such moments. Its a female thing:-)


    1. The balance is good, and I had a great time doubting and wondering how much we know a story or someone, it was a great read 🙂 I haven’t seen many reviews of it yet, but it is a very interesting story. Thank you! Haha, I still feel silly about the towel incident, even if it was two years ago!


  3. Wow, this book really did a number on you eh? 🙂
    It sounds really gripping… I think I have seen the book being read/reviewed on Goodreads quite often…

    If I may, I read a psychological thriller called Daddy Dearest not so long ago and when you mentioned in your review re: characters “portrayed in a way that makes them real, sometimes relatable, sometimes despicable, but always real.” then I thought of Daddy Dearest straight away…


    1. The book gave me all it had, and it was great 😀 I haven’t read many reviews on it yet, I hope it gets more attention. I think I have heard of the book you mention, I’ll have a look at it! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had to think of that book your husband bought you for your birthday XD. You sure he can be trusted?! *shifty eyes, dramatic music* 😉 Such a wonderful review my little French sausage! I can tell by your choice of words that this was one well thought out, and definitely not written in a rush because of blogging stress. Correct me if I’m wrong! 😀 Oh, and the book sounds like a total creep fest to me. I think I should stay away from it in case the paranoia kicks in and my own husband will be interrogated every time he comes home from work late :’)


    1. 😂 I trust my hubby… most of the time!! Now I need to be more cautious, who knows! Thank you! 😘 Your comment actually brings me so much relief! It’s the first review I manage to write since I started uni and got this new schedule, so I was a bit worried. It turns out my brain loooooves Saturday mornings review sessions!🙂 I did take my time and kept the pressure at bay, I enjoyed writing it a lot. I guess I like the new system of working all week and taking care of my blog on weekends, yay! Haha, the story definitely won’t help you not getting suspicious about the tiniest thing your hubby does!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahaa! 😉 Yaay, that’s good to hear! ❤ Routine is everything. Especially one that makes you feel like you're being productive in several important activities. It can give a huge boost of confidence! 🙂 I actually hardly ever get suspicious thank GOD! XD Being paranoid is something that's not in my system. Or is it?! O_o. Nah, it really isn't 😀

        Liked by 1 person

          1. As long as they don’t take over your life, consider it a good thing! xD I mean, you would never react the same way the naive women in those psychological thrillers you’re reading would. Because you’d be prepared!! 😉

            Liked by 2 people

  5. Love your review! This sounds so good. I’m really getting sucked into psychological thrillers and mysteries lately and really loving them. I’m wondering why I’ve been wasting so much time on YA books when there’s so many good books like this out there. I need to add this to my TBR right now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I approve waves of love for psychological thrillers and mysteries 😀 There are so many out there! I only can take a small amount of YA and NA per month, I get bored with them so easily.

      Liked by 1 person

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