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Joy Fielding has been writing great suspense novels since about the early eighties. Each one I have read has been a terrific page turner which has kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through! Mad River Road was another such book and did not disappoint in the least!
There are four main characters in Mad River Road. Jamie Kellogg is lonely and vulnerable. She has had one failed marriage and has just discovered that her boyfriend is actually married. When she meets the charming Brad Fisher, who says all the right things to her - telling her how clever and beautiful she is - she falls for him right away. It's not long before she has given up her job and allowed him to persuade her to go on an adventure travelling halfway across America. However, what seemed at first to be a dream adventure soon turns into her worst nightmare.
Emma Fraser is running away. We know that she has a problematic past and she is found living on Mad River Road with her son Dylan. For some reason she seems to be a compulsive liar and does not form friendships easily. That is until she meets Lily Rogers. They are of a similar age and so are their sons. They start to become friends but Lily is another one who is not completely telling the truth either.
All of their lives become somehow tangled with the charming Brad Fisher. On the surface he is sweet, funny and caring but deep down he harbours a huge resentment and he is determined to seek revenge. This is why he persuades Jamie to leave everything to come with him. And where is he headed? Mad River Road!
This is the sort of book that will keep you guessing right up to the last page! Because none of them are quite what they seem, you might think that you have everything figured out but the chances are you haven't! The book alternates between telling the story from Jamie's, Emma's and Lilly's points of view. There is a wonderful contrast between these. In Jamie's chapters there is a building sense of unease and menace as she slowly starts to realise the sort of man she is with and her growing despair that she cannot escape him. On the other hand, Emma's and Lily's chapters are much more full of domestic calm. YOu enjoy reading about their normal lives and their growing friendships, but deep down, you know that this is not going to last and that something terrible is likely to happen!
It's a well crafted book which keeps you wondering all the way through and has one or two unexpected twists and turns. Joy Fielding seems very skilled at only revealing little by little what she wants her readers to know. Also, she is very good at ending her chapters leaving most of them just on the edge of a cliffhanger!
She does also develop her characters well (which I don't think is always the case in suspense novels) and all the women are likeable but sympathetic. Even when you find out some of the things they might have done you still like them!
Overall this is an excellent book for those people who enjoy reading suspense. The novel is well paced and builds up the tension well. Towards the end I just had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen to them all.
I really do recommend this book.It's a great read that is just scary enough and really keeps you wanting to know what is goin to happen next.
It is published by Pocket Star books and is quite a long read at just under 500 pages. You can buy the paperback on Amazon for £8.99.