Book Review: He Said/She Said (Erin Kelly) @MinotaurBooks #HeSaidSheSaid

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Last year, the biggest trend in the thriller genre was the unreliable narrator.

Books like Gone Girl and Girl on the Train had people wanting more people didn’t think they could believe or trust.

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly is a book with so much unreliability; I had no idea who to trust or who to turn too.

Kelly took the unreliable narrator phenomenon and wrote it on steroids.

The novel, using a solar eclipse as a metaphor, follows a couple, Laura and Kit who live in fear and paranoia. Using flashbacks and multi-character narration, it is discovered that years prior, Laura witnessed a brutal attack and is dealing with the repercussions.   Even though Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow (and that are pieced together throughout the narrative) show that the full picture is never shown, and you never know who is hiding in the dark.

This one, although arguably slower than some thrillers I have read lately, had me on the edge of my seat. I could not put it down. I needed to know what happened. I needed to know why there was such fear in our protagonists.  The tone of the book is truly ominous and laced with tension and paranoia.   I felt like I was absorbing some of the protagonists throughout my reading. Kelly brilliantly uses her prose to make the reader FEEL the narrative. I had so much anxiety throughout the text I found myself looking over my shoulder.

Even though I did find some of the general plot predictable, I found myself pleasantly surprised with the ending. I loved the switch half way through the plot when Kelly starts bringing in all the pieces of the story together.

Overall, if you are a fan of novels featuring an unreliable narrator, you will love this novel. If you like well-placed plots and dark, ominous tones, you will also love this novel.   I loved it. I gave it a 4.5/5 stars.

Thanks to the publisher and the author for a copy of He Said/She Said.  It was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

This one was also a #cjsreads pick.  Keep reading to see what Jessica and Chandra had to say about this one!

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What Chandra Thought:

4 Stars!
Laura and Kit are fascinated with eclipses and travel to various places chasing to see one. On one trip, Laura accidentally witnesses a brutal attack on a woman, Beth, and that’s where the madness begins. The author takes us to the court room and then through Kit and Laura’s POVs, alternating chapters bounce back from the past to the “present” of the attack, to 15 years later, where it still haunts each of them.

The psychological thriller is a bit of a slower pace, with tons of information on eclipses (which was fun to learn about), but the author does a good job in keeping the chapters short and keeping you interested to see what is going to happen. No one appears to be reliable and just when you think you know what’s going on, another secret emerges. The slower pace doesn’t make the twists jump at you or make you gasp out loud, but there is a lot of eyebrow raising. The twists aren’t what makes this book anyway. It’s the characters – each of them flawed in their own right. This is a story more on the relationships between the characters, what keeping a secret can fester and turn into and how these emotionally drawn quick decisions can wreak havoc. For those that don’t particularly care for a slower/moderate pace – I suggest you stick with this one… you won’t be sorry. And since the author made Laura a bad ass female pool player, well… if you know me, then you KNOW how much I LOVE this. 🙂 And the final line…. wicked and very apropos.

What Jessica Thought:

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly is one of the most anticipated releasing for the summer, so I was very excited to get my hands on a copy. I didn’t know too much about this book going into it – just a very brief synopsis. I avoided skimming the reviews on Goodreads, but I had heard from some people that it was a slow burn kind of thriller. It definitely was – but so worth it!

Laura and Kit are eclipse hunters – meaning they travel the world to see the total eclipses of the sun. Fifteen years ago, Laura witnessed a brutal attack during the aftermath of an eclipse. She reported the attack, but little did she know that not only did the victim’s life change forever, but so did Laura’s and Kit’s.
This follows the same kind of writing style that I love – multiple narrators and bouncing back and forth from two timelines. I feel more drawn into these thrillers when we see through the eyes of multiple characters. It helps answer questions as you go, explain the actions of characters, and moves the pace along. Sometimes the different timelines can add an element of confusion, which I feel like all psychological thrillers need. Erin Kelly did an amazing job at developing these complex characters. Emotionally, the stress of their pasts has a huge impact on their lives. The trauma manifests differently for both of them (insomnia, anxiety, etc) and they both cope with it differently.
Overall, I really loved this thriller. While it’s a slow burn, it’s definitely worth it for the end! This story gave me the creeps and made me uncomfortable while reading – almost like “someone is behind me” type feeling. And on a side note, I loved the explanation of the different phases of the eclipse, and then how they were applied to the different parts of the book.

I give this 5/5 stars!



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