Our main narrator for The Therapist is Alice who’s recently moved with her partner into a new enclave in London, called The Circle. It sounds a bit Steptoe Wife-like but it isn’t. The couples living there are all quite different albeit slightly insular in the gated community.
by B.A. Paris
Published by HQ Fiction
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: B08CR3WNFT, 9780008412012
When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…
As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating, grisly secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before.
Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbours are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem…
I liked Alice and the majority of the narrative unfolds from her point of view. We learn her parents and sister Nina were killed in a car accident over a dozen years earlier. Which goes some way to explaining her reaction to discovering she and Leo are living in the house where a woman named Nina was murdered the year before.
I mean, I get that it’s kinda creepy but as Leo her partner reminds her, the house Alice grew up and had been living in (in Harlestone) is a couple of centuries old so would have seen its fair share of death. I found it slightly weird Alice seems more upset by the fact the victim’s name was the same as her sister, than about the murder itself. Not to mention (that) Nina’s husband suiciding after being accused of her murder.
Alice initially refuses to stay at the house, angry at Leo for not telling her how he was able to buy it for such a low price. The pair have only just moved in together after a long-distance relationship and it certainly doesn’t appear it’ll last.
Despite her antipathy towards the house, Alice finds herself drawn to Nina’s murder after being contacted by a private investigator working on behalf of the husband’s sister, who does not believe he killed his wife then himself.
We also meet ‘the therapist’. I think readers naturally bond with them as they’re our narrator but at times they’re a little trite about their work and clients. And we aren’t really given any hints as to the timing of their scenes or who they involve. Do we need to pay attention to the therapist, or their clients? And of course we know Nina was a therapist. But is she ‘the therapist’?
I couldn’t get a handle on Leo and I’m not sure if Paris does this on purpose, keeping him a little secretive and aloof. His job requires him to travel so he’s absent for much of the time. His love for Alice seems genuine however, so while we’re suspicious of him, there’s a sense of sadness that he’s mishandled everything so badly.
This probably isn’t my favourite of Paris’s books, but it’s certainly an intriguing read and I did not see the twist coming. I’m not sure readers can predict it all as we’re not given all of the information we’d need to solve this, though there are a few hints dropped here and there.
The Therapist by BA Paris will be published by HQ Fiction in early January 2021.
I received an advance reading copy (ARC) of this book electronically from the publisher for review purposes.