Book Review: 'Disclaimer'

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Renee Knight. Harper, 336 pp. $25.99

Honestly, I'm much more a fan of thrillers when they're written by a European author. In my opinion, the focus is much more on the suspense and character development than it is on the twists and turns that the author can throw into the final chapters.

"Disclaimer," by Renee Knight further establishes this opinion of mine. Catherine Ravenscroft is a documentary filmmaker with a dark secret she hasn't even told her family. According to her memory, the only other person who knew is dead. But there is someone else, and Catherine starts to become suspicious when a mysterious book appears at her bedside. This book, though written as a novel, depicts her secret with terrifying accuracy.

Knight moves back and forth between Catherine's perspective and the perspective of this mysterious person. And, while the suspense builds and new information is revealed periodically throughout the novel, there were no unrealistic twists and turns.

Part of what makes this book so good is the humanity Knight writes into both Catherine and the mysterious person. It's hard to tell whether this person is sympathetic or malicious, or a little of both. It's also hard to tell whether Catherine is truly the person we're meant to believe her to be, or if she is a completely different woman when put into unusual circumstances.

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