A Book Spy Review: ‘A Double Life’ by Flynn Berry

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A Double LifeFlynn Berry follows up her outstanding debut, Under the Harrow, with another spine-tingling thriller of psychological suspense. 

Claire Alden is a doctor in her mid-thirties doing her best to live a quiet life in London. On the surface, she’s just a normal person living the daily grind. What nobody knows is that she’s also the daughter of Lord Colin Spenser, a high-ranking member of British society. . . who happens to be one of the most wanted murder suspects in the country. 

More than twenty years ago, Claire’s father attacked her mother and her nanny. Her mother was left clinging to life, her nanny was viciously murdered, and her father vanished, leaving behind a bloody getaway car that was found by the English Channel. Colin’s powerful friends claim he’s innocent, and they even go to great lengths to help hide him over the years, leaving far more questions than answers for Claire and her drug-addict brother. Even now, though she knows she should hate him, Claire can’t help but wonder about her father’s whereabouts. She longs to know what, exactly, happened, and why he did what he did. So whenever the police call, which happens from time to time, about a new lead or suspect, Claire, after dealing with the initial, nearly crippling anxiety as those traumatic childhood events come flooding back, secretly hopes for something. . . anything to make sense of it all. 

After years of disappointing leads, she finally decides to do something about it herself, bypassing the police to befriend the daughter of one of her father’s closest friends from back in the day. Each breadcrumb of information pushes her further and further ahead, as Berry explores how far one person will go in their pursuit to uncover the truth. On the other side of the equation, however, is another question that is far more disturbing. What if her father returns to finish the job he started that night? 

Coming in at just under 300 pages, Berry’s latest novel does feel a tad short, and might have benefited from dedicating a few more pages towards fleshing out Claire, who feels slightly underdeveloped. She does narrate most of the story, with flashback scenes woven in throughout, but readers may struggle to find her trustworthy or relatable. The story itself is fairly linear, without any earth-shattering twists or turns through the first three-quarters of the book. Instead, the author seems to favor a slow-burn style of suspense-building, though she does kick things up a notch or two in the final act, which is easily her strongest showing. In the end, A Double Life doesn’t quite measure up to Under the Harrow, but it’s not far behind. 

Flynn Berry continues to flash major potential with A Double Life. . . and while her first two books are very strong, there’s a real chance that her best is still yet to come. 

Book Details

Author: Flynn Berry
Pages: 272 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 073522496X
Publisher: Viking
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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