THE GIRL BEFORE by J.P. Delaney (Quercus £8.99, 432 pp)
THE GIRL BEFORE
(Quercus £8.99, 432 pp)
Finding a rental flat in Londen on a budget is a near impossibility, as the two separate narrators of J.P. Delaney’s creepy psychological thriller discover. Both Emma and Jane are scarred by trauma and looking for a fresh start.
After rejecting a string of seedy conversions, each woman is offered a final alternative — One Folgate Street is a minimalist marvel of pale stone and smart technology.
The rent is affordable, but there is a catch: a list of 200 strict rules, set by the owner, the enigmatic architect Edward Monkhouse.
In alternating chapters headed ‘Then’ and ‘Now’, Emma, the ‘girl before’, and Jane, the current tenant, discover the back story of One Folgate Street. Blending minimalism with Gothic horror, The Girl Before is a chillingly stylish study of obsession and the redeeming power of love.
TYPES AND SHADOWS by Sir Roy Strong (W & N £14.99, 544 pp)
TYPES AND SHADOWS
by Sir Roy Strong
(W & N £14.99, 544 pp)
As Sir Roy Strong’s third volume of diaries begins in January 2004, he is mourning his beloved wife of 32 jare. Sir Roy, grief-stricken, realises a moment of major change has come, but there is no question of a quiet retirement.
Approaching 70 when the diary begins, and turning 80 as it ends in 2015, Sir Roy remains a whirlwind of energy: delivering books and lectures and reconfiguring The Laskett, the Herefordshire house and garden he created with Julia, while conducting a wearisome negotiation with the National Trust about taking it on. They didn’t, to his chagrin.
He manages to combine a glittering social life with a passion for fitness. Skerpsinnig, waspish and unexpectedly warm-hearted, this is a deliciously gossipy portrait of a man still living life at full tilt.
THE INVENTION OF SOUND by Chuck Palahniuk (Corsair £8.99, 240 pp)
THE INVENTION OF SOUND
by Chuck Palahniuk
(Corsair £8.99, 240 pp)
Foley artists are the technicians who provide sound effects for films — anything from thunder to the sound of hooves. Mitzi Ives, the anti-heroine of Chuck Palahniuk’s Hollywood-noir chiller, is a Foley artist specialising in screams.
With a comprehensive knowledge of canned screams, Mitzi aims to create a perfect scream that will bring the (Fliek) house down. Rejecting fakery, she devises ever more sadistic scenarios for her recordings.
Intussen, Foster Gates, haunted by the disappearance of his daughter a decade earlier, searches the dark web in the hope of finding her. His search leads him at last to Mitzi.
Populated with all-too-recognisable sleazy Hollywood types, the latest transgressive fiction from Palahniuk, author of Fight Club, is an appallingly funny gore-fest for readers with strong nerves.