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A Double Life

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“A thrilling page-turner.” —Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train “Breathtaking . . . As shocking as it is satisfying.” —The New York Times Book Review A gripping, intense, stunningly written novel of psychological suspense from the award-winning author of Under the Harrow Claire is a hardworking doctor leading a simple, quiet life in London. She is also the daughter “A thrilling page-turner.” —Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train “Breathtaking . . . As shocking as it is satisfying.” —The New York Times Book Review A gripping, intense, stunningly written novel of psychological suspense from the award-winning author of Under the Harrow Claire is a hardworking doctor leading a simple, quiet life in London. She is also the daughter of the most notorious murder suspect in the country, though no one knows it. Nearly thirty years ago, while Claire and her brother slept upstairs, a brutal crime was committed in her family's townhouse. The next morning, her father's car was found abandoned near the English Channel, with bloodstains on the front seat. Her mother insisted she'd seen him in the house that night, but his powerful, privileged friends maintained his innocence. The first lord accused of murder in more than a century, he has been missing ever since. When the police tell Claire they've found him, her carefully calibrated existence begins to fracture. She doesn't know if she's the daughter of a murderer or a wronged man, but Claire will soon learn how far she'll go to finally find the truth. Loosely inspired by one of the most notorious unsolved crimes of the 20th century – the Lord Lucan case – A Double Life is at once a riveting page-turner and a moving reflection on women and violence, trauma and memory, and class and privilege.


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“A thrilling page-turner.” —Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train “Breathtaking . . . As shocking as it is satisfying.” —The New York Times Book Review A gripping, intense, stunningly written novel of psychological suspense from the award-winning author of Under the Harrow Claire is a hardworking doctor leading a simple, quiet life in London. She is also the daughter “A thrilling page-turner.” —Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train “Breathtaking . . . As shocking as it is satisfying.” —The New York Times Book Review A gripping, intense, stunningly written novel of psychological suspense from the award-winning author of Under the Harrow Claire is a hardworking doctor leading a simple, quiet life in London. She is also the daughter of the most notorious murder suspect in the country, though no one knows it. Nearly thirty years ago, while Claire and her brother slept upstairs, a brutal crime was committed in her family's townhouse. The next morning, her father's car was found abandoned near the English Channel, with bloodstains on the front seat. Her mother insisted she'd seen him in the house that night, but his powerful, privileged friends maintained his innocence. The first lord accused of murder in more than a century, he has been missing ever since. When the police tell Claire they've found him, her carefully calibrated existence begins to fracture. She doesn't know if she's the daughter of a murderer or a wronged man, but Claire will soon learn how far she'll go to finally find the truth. Loosely inspired by one of the most notorious unsolved crimes of the 20th century – the Lord Lucan case – A Double Life is at once a riveting page-turner and a moving reflection on women and violence, trauma and memory, and class and privilege.

30 review for A Double Life

  1. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    3.5 stars Thirty years ago, while Claire and her baby brother slept, a brutal attack took place in their home. An attack that left a young woman dead and their Mother injured. Claire's father's car was found abandoned with blood on the interior of the car. Her Mother, who was wounded in the attack, always stated that Claire's father was in the home that night. Her father's friends painted a different picture stating that Claire's father was innocent, and that Claire's Mother was the unstable one. 3.5 stars Thirty years ago, while Claire and her baby brother slept, a brutal attack took place in their home. An attack that left a young woman dead and their Mother injured. Claire's father's car was found abandoned with blood on the interior of the car. Her Mother, who was wounded in the attack, always stated that Claire's father was in the home that night. Her father's friends painted a different picture stating that Claire's father was innocent, and that Claire's Mother was the unstable one. Claire's father has been missing since that night, leaving so many questions unanswered. Throughout the years, Claire has been contacted by the Police to inform her that her father has been sighted in various locations. None of them ever seem to pan out. He appears to have vanished. Claire and her brother have new names and no one in her current life know that she is the child of a notorious murder suspect except for one friend. When she receives news that her father may have been sighted again, Claire decides that enough is enough. She wants to know the truth. She has been watching his friends for years. Could they be a link to her father? Is her father innocent? Is her father a killer? Will she ever learn the truth? This is a psychological thriller about one woman's search for the truth. It's also about class, lies, secrets, living a double life, and of course, the search for the truth. This book is well-written and nicely paced. I found that the more I thought about this book, the more I enjoyed it. It does make one wonder; how would you react/feel if one of your parents was accused of a horrible crime and you never see them again. How would this affect you and your life? I received a copy of this book from Viking and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. See more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com

  2. 3 out of 5

    Tammy

    Loosely based on the Lord Lucan case, A Double Life is told from the adult perspective of one of the surviving children who was in the house when her father murdered her nanny, beat her mother and vanished. How does such horror affect one’s life? In this instance, finding her father and desperately wanting to know the truth is an all consuming obsession. Claire, a physician living in London, is understandably a mess. Each time she is notified about a possible sighting of her father, she is tosse Loosely based on the Lord Lucan case, A Double Life is told from the adult perspective of one of the surviving children who was in the house when her father murdered her nanny, beat her mother and vanished. How does such horror affect one’s life? In this instance, finding her father and desperately wanting to know the truth is an all consuming obsession. Claire, a physician living in London, is understandably a mess. Each time she is notified about a possible sighting of her father, she is tossed back into a cycle of intense rumination leading to dubious machinations. In addition to all of this, we are asked to consider class, privilege and the concept of a double life. Is Claire the efficient physician or the obsessed neurotic? Is her father the upper crust Englishman or the cold blooded killer? What constitutes identity? Is there actually such a thing as a facade? In all, this is a satisfying read despite a scene that was puzzling and the last few pages being superfluous.

  3. 3 out of 5

    Linda

    Evil transcends all privilege, all class, and all sophisticated personalities. Flynn Berry presents a storyline based on a famous unsolved crime in the twentieth century involving Lord Lucan. Lord Lucan was to have killed their nanny and brutally attacked his wife. And he simply disappeared. Spin the revolving stage and we meet Claire, a physician, who has a parallel background to the Lord Lucan unsavory story. As a child, Claire came upon the body of their nanny in a pool of blood in the kitchen. Evil transcends all privilege, all class, and all sophisticated personalities. Flynn Berry presents a storyline based on a famous unsolved crime in the twentieth century involving Lord Lucan. Lord Lucan was to have killed their nanny and brutally attacked his wife. And he simply disappeared. Spin the revolving stage and we meet Claire, a physician, who has a parallel background to the Lord Lucan unsavory story. As a child, Claire came upon the body of their nanny in a pool of blood in the kitchen. Her small footprints led to a corner of the room where she crouched in terror. Her mother was badly beaten and she ran down the street to a neighborhood pub for help. Claire's brother, Robbie, was just a toddler at the time. Claire's father, Colin Spenser, did a Lord Lucan disappearance as well. His car was later found in a field abandoned with bloodstained seats. Afterwards, Claire's mother moves to a completely different locale with her children. The reader sits with thoughts of Colin's grotesque deed. Was it really Colin or was he set up some how? And where in the world has he escaped to? The focus of the story sets upon Claire and her innate desire to find out the truth about her father. Her intense drive gives energy to the story in the beginning. But then I began to feel the weight of it as Claire trudged through page after page. She became irritating and her tactics seemed a bit childish and off-putting. I couldn't even imagine her as a physician. Too many mundane take-out meals and dull scenarios. If you read Under the Harrow you will experience a vast difference in the build-up and intensity. Outside of Claire, we really didn't get inside the other characters' heads and walk around enough. So many wasted opportunities to kick this one into high gear. A worthy read, but could have been so much more. I received a copy of A Double Life through Goodreads Giveaways. My thanks to Penguin Books and to Flynn Berry for the opportunity.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katie B

    There was a simplicity aspect to the book that I really enjoyed. The author didn't try to make this an overly complicated mystery with so many twists and turns that end up hurting the story rather than enhancing it. The book itself is only around 270 pages so the story doesn't drag on and on as you are wondering what happened to the father who disappeared after a woman was murdered. Ended up finishing this in a day as it was an enjoyable read and I find it fascinating that the book was loosely b There was a simplicity aspect to the book that I really enjoyed. The author didn't try to make this an overly complicated mystery with so many twists and turns that end up hurting the story rather than enhancing it. The book itself is only around 270 pages so the story doesn't drag on and on as you are wondering what happened to the father who disappeared after a woman was murdered. Ended up finishing this in a day as it was an enjoyable read and I find it fascinating that the book was loosely based on a true story. Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy! I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.

  5. 3 out of 5

    Marialyce

    4 appealed to me stars My reviews can be found here: https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres... This was the first Flynn Barry book that I have read and I truly have to say I will be back for more. A horrendous murder has been committed, a well heeled father, Colin Spenser, has been accused, blood is later found in his abandoned car, and his children and wife are left to pick up the pieces. Colin, a Lord in the House of Lords, is suspected of murder and yet he is missing. Has he killed himself after 4 appealed to me stars My reviews can be found here: https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres... This was the first Flynn Barry book that I have read and I truly have to say I will be back for more. A horrendous murder has been committed, a well heeled father, Colin Spenser, has been accused, blood is later found in his abandoned car, and his children and wife are left to pick up the pieces. Colin, a Lord in the House of Lords, is suspected of murder and yet he is missing. Has he killed himself after this supposed case of mistaken identity or he is the actual cold blooded murderer that some believe him to be? Is his wife, a witness to his being in the house the night of the murder, or is she mistaken, as she is discredited by Colin's friends, the monied and powerful? Clare is Colin's daughter. She has grown up to become an accomplished doctor and yet, the shadow of her father hangs over her head. Her brother is also affected by his father's supposed actions and turns to a life of drugs and rehab. Every time Clare hears of a sighting of her father, she becomes more and more convinced he is alive and living free. She is obsessed with finding him and bringing him to justice wondering always is he alive and feeling always that yes, indeed he is. I truly enjoyed this book as I traveled with Clare along the road to finally find this man who is her father. Is he truly the murderer she thinks him to be, and is he still alive, walking about in freedom while Clare and her family are shackled to what they believe he did? Granted there were some excessive parts to Clare's character but I could clearly see her need for justice and the compulsion she experienced, the need to know. "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles." (Sun Tzu) For Clare everyday not knowing and living in fear was a battle. Would she be able to achieve the result she so desired? Thank you to Flynn Barry, Viking, and Edelweiss for a copy of this appealing book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This novel is based on the disappearance of Lord Lucan. However, although it is inspired by a real-life event, the characters are fictional and events are told from the point of view of Claire, a thirty four year old doctor in London. Claire started life with another name, and another life, until her father fled the country. This novel looks at the aftermath of a crime and how it affected Claire and her young brother. Very few people know the truth about Claire’s real identity. Opening up to oth This novel is based on the disappearance of Lord Lucan. However, although it is inspired by a real-life event, the characters are fictional and events are told from the point of view of Claire, a thirty four year old doctor in London. Claire started life with another name, and another life, until her father fled the country. This novel looks at the aftermath of a crime and how it affected Claire and her young brother. Very few people know the truth about Claire’s real identity. Opening up to others has led to bad experiences for her and so she is very much alone, and lonely. Sometimes, it seems that life goes on, much as usual. She is a doctor in a busy practice, coping with issues, such as her brother’s reliance on prescription drugs, work issues and her obsession with her father. Every now and then, there is a sighting of her father. If the police take it seriously, they may approach her and ask for a DNA swab, to try to prove that the possible suspect is the man that Claire last saw when she was eight. When this occurs, it brings all of those memories back into focus and increases her attempts to find out what really happened. I found this quite a moving read. At essence, it is the story of a marriage between Claire’s parents – of class differences and a cover up, that, literally, saw the upper classes close ranks against Claire’s mother and who saw the perpetrator of a crime as the victim. The question is, how far will Claire go to learn the truth? An interesting, well written and thought provoking novel, which would be ideal for reading groups, as it has so much to discuss. I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, for review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Flynn Berry's debut novel Under the Harrow was one of the more pleasant reading surprises I've had this year; I felt like I'd found a hidden gem that ticked all of my thriller boxes (atmospheric, dark, is more of a character study than a fast-paced page-turner). A Double Life just reinforced my appreciation of Berry's style. I can see where her books won't work for all thriller lovers, but they really work for me. Loosely based on the Lord Lucan case, A Double Life follows Claire, whose father mu Flynn Berry's debut novel Under the Harrow was one of the more pleasant reading surprises I've had this year; I felt like I'd found a hidden gem that ticked all of my thriller boxes (atmospheric, dark, is more of a character study than a fast-paced page-turner). A Double Life just reinforced my appreciation of Berry's style. I can see where her books won't work for all thriller lovers, but they really work for me. Loosely based on the Lord Lucan case, A Double Life follows Claire, whose father murdered her nanny, beat her mother, and vanished without a trace when she was a child. Now Claire is a successful doctor in London, but each possible sighting of her father sends her into such a state of anxiety she finally decides to seek answers for herself. A Double Life is first and foremost a psychologically driven character study, which examines class and privilege and the role that plays in the crime that was committed. This kind of reminded me of something like The Secret History or Social Creature or The Riot Club, but instead of telling the story from an insular perspective that indulges in the fantasy of living that kind of possibly elite life, it's like if The Secret History had been narrated by Richard's mother, or someone else who was close enough to touch that lifestyle without actually living it. Consequently it's not quite as glitzy and glamorous as any of those other stories mentioned, but it gives us a protagonist who's easy to relate to and root for. The plot is gripping as well, though it's not particularly twisty - but that's fine as Berry's writing keeps you engaged throughout. Overall I have to say that I did prefer Under the Harrow to A Double Life since the former had more to offer in the way of atmosphere with its setting in the English countryside, but I did really enjoy this as well. If you prefer your thrillers to be character-driven and lean a bit more toward the literary side of things, I'd highly recommend giving Flynn Berry a try. Thank you to Netgalley, Viking, and Flynn Berry for the advanced copy provided in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 3 out of 5

    Nicole (Read Eat Sleep Repeat)

    The blurb for A Double Life isn’t particularly vague or misleading, and yet, this book wasn’t what I expected. I think I’d been anticipating more of a spy novel of sorts, whereas this was closer to literary fiction full of mystery and suspense. But it was a thoroughly absorbing story that I enjoyed reading immensely. With a carefully constructed plot taking place in present day with flashbacks to fill in the backstory, this story unfolded at an even pace, revealing just enough to keep the reader The blurb for A Double Life isn’t particularly vague or misleading, and yet, this book wasn’t what I expected. I think I’d been anticipating more of a spy novel of sorts, whereas this was closer to literary fiction full of mystery and suspense. But it was a thoroughly absorbing story that I enjoyed reading immensely. With a carefully constructed plot taking place in present day with flashbacks to fill in the backstory, this story unfolded at an even pace, revealing just enough to keep the reader curious. The main characters were nicely complex. I particularly enjoyed seeing Claire’s development and learning about her father. And coming in around 270 pages, this was a fast read that could be easily read in a sitting or two. A Double Life is a fairly straightforward book and doesn’t require much more explanation or description. If you like your mystery or suspense books to be more character driven or literary based, I’d definitely recommend giving this a shot! *Many thanks to Penguin Random House's First to Read program for providing an arc of this edition in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Claire is a London physician living under an assumed identity. Time and again she finds herself disappointed when police tell her that their new search to find her missing father has not yielded any results. Twenty six years ago, while Claire and her brother were asleep upstairs in their London home, her father brutally murdered Claire’s nanny and then attempted to murder her mother. He fled the scene and was never apprehended. But Claire is determined to find her father and then discover the tr Claire is a London physician living under an assumed identity. Time and again she finds herself disappointed when police tell her that their new search to find her missing father has not yielded any results. Twenty six years ago, while Claire and her brother were asleep upstairs in their London home, her father brutally murdered Claire’s nanny and then attempted to murder her mother. He fled the scene and was never apprehended. But Claire is determined to find her father and then discover the truth about what really happened that night. This psychological thriller alternates between the events that happened in the past and the current investigation that Claire has begun on her own. It is a story of class, privilege, deception, and the memories that a child holds about her family. It’s hard to put this one down as Claire inches closer to discovering the truth. Thank you to First to Read, Viking Press an imprint of Penguin Random House, and author Flynn Berry for giving me the opportunity to read this well written crime novel!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Susan Johnson

    This is apparently based on the real life story of the disappearance of Lord Lucan. I have never heard of the story before but it didn't interfere with reading the book. Claire was a young child when someone broke into her home, killed her nanny and brutally attacked her mother. Her mother fingered her father, a Lord, who disappeared that night. He had been helped by his well placed friends and was never heard of again. It's been 26 years and Claire has never stopped looking for him. She looks This is apparently based on the real life story of the disappearance of Lord Lucan. I have never heard of the story before but it didn't interfere with reading the book. Claire was a young child when someone broke into her home, killed her nanny and brutally attacked her mother. Her mother fingered her father, a Lord, who disappeared that night. He had been helped by his well placed friends and was never heard of again. It's been 26 years and Claire has never stopped looking for him. She looks for him on the streets, on trains and everywhere she goes. She spies on his friends and makes friends with their children trying to find information on him. Her brother has reacted differently and has sunk into a life of addiction. Claire is a GP working for public health. I found the story a little pedestrian and certainly not that exciting. Claire really became quite obnoxious and annoying. I wasn't rooting for her at all although I did root for her brother. It was so-so and OK for people who don't want a lot of excitement. Thanks to Net Galley for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.

  11. 3 out of 5

    Rene Denfeld

    I was lucky enough to be sent an arc of this remarkable novel. A Double Life is more than a taut thriller that will keep you poised at the edge of your seat. It's a deeply considered examination of women, violence, class, privilege, and memory. While the background of the characters was new to me—an upper class London family—the theme of a daughter searching for information about her violent father resonated, and I was captured by the story and pitch perfect prose.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    She said she heard noises coming from downstairs so she went to see what they were. When she reached the landing she found her estranged husband with a length of pipe outfitted with tape. He attacked her forcing his fist down her throat. He said he was walking past the house when he witnessed the fight. He came in to aid his wife and the burglar ran away. The evidence Although his DNA is present at the scene of the crime and blood is found in his car 70 miles away there is no DNA underneath her fi She said she heard noises coming from downstairs so she went to see what they were. When she reached the landing she found her estranged husband with a length of pipe outfitted with tape. He attacked her forcing his fist down her throat. He said he was walking past the house when he witnessed the fight. He came in to aid his wife and the burglar ran away. The evidence Although his DNA is present at the scene of the crime and blood is found in his car 70 miles away there is no DNA underneath her fingernails indicating a close struggle. He is a Lord and has friends in high places that are willing to vouch for him and secure his alibi. During the inquest her reputation is brought into question including concerns over her mental health and her sexual proclivities. A Double Life is about the aftermath of such a tragedy. Based on the real life story of Richard John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan who disappeared in 1974 after attacking his estranged wife and bludgeoning the nanny to death. The narrator Claire is the daughter. It is now over 20 years later but she and her brother still bear the wounds. They have been forced to flee the country and change their names in order to avoid all of the media attention. Both have been psychologically traumatized. Robbie is addicted to pain killers and Claire is obsessed with finding her father. She finds it difficult to reconcile the father she knew with the monster who slayed her beloved Emma. Perhaps when she finds him he could prove his innocence. Maybe her mother was mistaken. A Double Life does not read so much as a mystery as it does a domestic thriller. It has a depth that is not found in your typical fast-paced thriller. If you don't mind a slow burn, A Double Life may be just the book for you.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    loved Under the Harrow so I was excited to read this and it did not in any way disappoint. I love how Flynn Berry creates and breathes life and soul into a character- in this case Claire, whose father killed her Nanny, attempted to kill her Mother then disappeared seemingly into thin air… There is such an atmosphere here as Claire researches and travels , takes care of her brother, goes into a kind of life catatonic state every time the police believe they’ve caught up with her errant Father . I l loved Under the Harrow so I was excited to read this and it did not in any way disappoint. I love how Flynn Berry creates and breathes life and soul into a character- in this case Claire, whose father killed her Nanny, attempted to kill her Mother then disappeared seemingly into thin air… There is such an atmosphere here as Claire researches and travels , takes care of her brother, goes into a kind of life catatonic state every time the police believe they’ve caught up with her errant Father . I love how its really not about whether he’s guilty or not but about how the lives he left behind him are indelibly altered. His friends who covered for him, their children and at the heart of it all Claire who watches and waits and plans.. Themes of privilege, victim blaming, history and consequences run throughout the narrative and it is at turns chilling and emotionally resonant. Beautifully written, stand out characters and a hugely immersive sense of place and time make A Double Life an absolute must read. Highly recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nikki (Saturday Nite Reader)

    The build-up and suspense author Flynn Berry created in the beginning through three-quarters the way through this book was incredible. After finishing a chapter and wanting to see what would happen next, the next chapter would flashback in time and I knew I would have to wait to find out. This format kept me turning page after page. Claire is in her early thirties and hasn’t seen her father in twenty-six years. He may still be out there in the world and she can’t rest easy knowing this. He disapp The build-up and suspense author Flynn Berry created in the beginning through three-quarters the way through this book was incredible. After finishing a chapter and wanting to see what would happen next, the next chapter would flashback in time and I knew I would have to wait to find out. This format kept me turning page after page. Claire is in her early thirties and hasn’t seen her father in twenty-six years. He may still be out there in the world and she can’t rest easy knowing this. He disappeared after her mother’s attempted murder: one in which he is the prime suspect. He plead his innocence through his friend’s whom would be investigated for helping him escape: they denied everything and were never charged. Claire asks herself these questions more often than not: Do his friends know where he is? Did her dad really try to kill her mother or was her mother mistaken? Was her dad more of the man his friends painted him to be or what her mother accused? Claire stalks her dad’s friends and is obsessed with finding out what happened to her father. Will she find out the truth? What danger will she face along the way? What will her knowing cost her? After getting to the crux of the story I felt a bit disappointed. There was no twist, no “hold your breath” part that I was waiting on the edge of my seat for. It was a page turner and a fast read I will give the book that: it was just missing a strong ending. That thrilling feeling that built had no where to go, I am still a bit bummed out. I don’t regret reading it or wish for that time back. If you read it, let me know so we can discuss!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    It was domestic violence. There was nothing uncommon about it, nothing mysterious. A woman is murdered by her partner two times every week in this country. Eight a month, more than a hundred a year. No one would have cared about my father, no one would know his name, if he hadn’t had money This feels like a book confused by its own identity: part of it wants to be saying something serious about the links between class privilege and violence against women; the other half keeps remembering that i It was domestic violence. There was nothing uncommon about it, nothing mysterious. A woman is murdered by her partner two times every week in this country. Eight a month, more than a hundred a year. No one would have cared about my father, no one would know his name, if he hadn’t had money This feels like a book confused by its own identity: part of it wants to be saying something serious about the links between class privilege and violence against women; the other half keeps remembering that it’s being filed under crime/thriller so suddenly works in some half-hearted suspense tropes. And the left-field ending comes up literally out of nowhere with a ‘what? who?’ finale. It’s a shame as Berry could have done something special with this story: using the Lord Lucan case as a springboard she asks questions about what it means to grow up thinking that your father might be a murderer, who used his rich and powerful friends to disappear. The thinly disguised Bullingdon Club and other accents make the first part of this feel akin to A Very English Scandal, another story of sex, lies and murder in the higher echelons of British society. But then too much turns on the ‘obsessed woman’ trope as our GP heroine is soon spying, blackmailing and disguising herself like something out of a cheap thriller. In the end neither part quite works: the thoughtful part sinks beneath the unconvincing and unbelievable; the thriller part fails to thrill. Great potential, but ultimately unsatisfying: 2.5 stars rounded up.

  16. 3 out of 5

    Jen

    Loosely based on a true crime, A Double Life introduces us to Claire. As a young child, her nanny was killed and her mother attacked in a shocking act of violence. Her fathers car is found abandoned with bloodstains on the seat but has vanished into thin air. Fast forward 30 years and we see Claire as an adult. The police come to see her to let her know that there has been a sighting of her father. This sighting doesn't pan out, as has happened for her entire life. Frustrated, Claire decides to Loosely based on a true crime, A Double Life introduces us to Claire. As a young child, her nanny was killed and her mother attacked in a shocking act of violence. Her fathers car is found abandoned with bloodstains on the seat but has vanished into thin air. Fast forward 30 years and we see Claire as an adult. The police come to see her to let her know that there has been a sighting of her father. This sighting doesn't pan out, as has happened for her entire life. Frustrated, Claire decides to take the matter into her own hands and find out the truth once and for all. Was her father the murderer? Or was he just in the wrong place at the wrong time, or even involved at all? She goes on the hunt and what evolves is a thrilling page turner. There was a lot of build up throughout the book but I found the ending lackluster. This was an interesting story with a strange ending that did not seem to fit the rest of the book. For me, A Double Life was ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars. Thank you @vikingbooks for this advance reader in exchange for my honest review.

  17. 3 out of 5

    Jerrie (redwritinghood)

    I received this ARC on #netgalley in exchange for my review. I love Flynn Berry’s writing and her first book, which was not your typical thriller/murder mystery. This book has a lot of that same intensity without the usual ploys - until the ending. Twenty-six years after a murder, a woman is looking for her father, who disappeared after the crime and is believed to have committed it. She assumes a fake identity and engages in her own detective work to find him. Ironically, she engages in a lot o I received this ARC on #netgalley in exchange for my review. I love Flynn Berry’s writing and her first book, which was not your typical thriller/murder mystery. This book has a lot of that same intensity without the usual ploys - until the ending. Twenty-six years after a murder, a woman is looking for her father, who disappeared after the crime and is believed to have committed it. She assumes a fake identity and engages in her own detective work to find him. Ironically, she engages in a lot of dubious behavior, similar to the father she’s seeking. The ending of the book, however, went in an unexpected direction that didn’t add to the story but only served to confuse the narrative. 3.5⭐️

  18. 3 out of 5

    Erika

    Thanks to Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 2.5 stars. At 20% this was in danger of being a DNF for me but by 25% it got a little better, enough so to keep reading. I found the flashbacks to be presented in a very confusing way. I would be well into the flashback and just generally confused about what I was reading before I even realized it was a flashback. I also thought there were a lot of character names past and present to keep track of and that added to the co Thanks to Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 2.5 stars. At 20% this was in danger of being a DNF for me but by 25% it got a little better, enough so to keep reading. I found the flashbacks to be presented in a very confusing way. I would be well into the flashback and just generally confused about what I was reading before I even realized it was a flashback. I also thought there were a lot of character names past and present to keep track of and that added to the confusion. At the end of the day, I just didn’t feel like there was much to this story. The father may have murdered the nanny and tried to murder the ex wife, he had possibly been spotted several times over the years after he disappeared, the daughter befriends someone who may have info and tries to find him and then there is a little bit left to the story after that. It was all pretty boring for me really. No big suspense and no real twists or turns. I think the premise was interesting, which is why I read it, but there wasn’t much behind it. The best thing about this book is that it was short.

  19. 4 out of 5

    JuJu (Julie)

    3.5 ⭐‘s. I was intrigued by the fact that the book was loosely inspired by one of the most notorious unsolved crimes of the 20th century—the Lord Lucan case. It was well written and interesting, but I didn’t care for the way it jumps between present and past, without warning at times. But it held my attention enough to make me curious about the details of the actual case. The story is told by the POV of the daughter—Claire—who is obsessed with finding her father. She is now a doctor, leading a q 3.5 ⭐️‘s. I was intrigued by the fact that the book was loosely inspired by one of the most notorious unsolved crimes of the 20th century—the Lord Lucan case. It was well written and interesting, but I didn’t care for the way it jumps between present and past, without warning at times. But it held my attention enough to make me curious about the details of the actual case. The story is told by the POV of the daughter—Claire—who is obsessed with finding her father. She is now a doctor, leading a quiet life in London. Her younger brother Robbie is a mess, with an addiction to pain meds. They’ve both changed their names so their past can remain hidden. Almost thirty years ago, Claire woke to noises and went downstairs to discover the body of their nanny—Emma—covered in blood. Her mother and father—Faye and Colin—were estranged at the time. Faye said Colin attacked her when she found him over Emma’s body. She escaped, ran for help and Colin fled the scene. His car was found abandoned near the English Channel, with bloodstains on the front seat. His powerful, privileged friends maintained his innocence and the first lord accused of murder in more than a century has been missing ever since. Thank you to NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP Viking for this ARC, in exchange for my honest review! #AdoubleLife #NetGalley

  20. 5 out of 5

    Linda Strong

    3.5 Stars Claire's father has been missing almost 30 years. He disappeared after committing a brutal crime against her mother and her mother's friend. Claire's mother survived to tell people that her husband had done this. Her father's family disputed it. Her father's car was found abandoned a short distance away, but he disappeared. Over the years there have been sightings, but it was never her father. The theory is that his family somehow smuggled him out of the country. Claire is tired of not kn 3.5 Stars Claire's father has been missing almost 30 years. He disappeared after committing a brutal crime against her mother and her mother's friend. Claire's mother survived to tell people that her husband had done this. Her father's family disputed it. Her father's car was found abandoned a short distance away, but he disappeared. Over the years there have been sightings, but it was never her father. The theory is that his family somehow smuggled him out of the country. Claire is tired of not knowing if she's the daughter of a murderer or a man framed by someone else. Claire will soon learn how far she'll go to finally find the truth. This was an engrossing look at Claire's life ... her memories of her father, her life as a child, her life as an adult, trying to take care of her younger brother who has issues of his own... all told in her own voice. This is not a highly suspenseful book, but it did hold my attention. The ending came as a surprise, one I didn't see coming. Many thanks to the author / Penguin Group - Viking / Netgalley for the digital copy of A DOUBLE LIFE. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.

  21. 3 out of 5

    Latkins

    I very much enjoyed this novel, which was inspired by the infamous case of Lord Lucan, but is of course fiction. The murder takes place in the early 1990s, when the protagonist, Claire, now a doctor in London, was very young. Her mother Faye's friend Emma was brutally murdered, and Faye herself badly injured. Claire found Emma's body while her mother went to the nearby pub to call for help; the prime suspect was Claire's estranged father Colin, a privileged lord with a close circle of wealthy an I very much enjoyed this novel, which was inspired by the infamous case of Lord Lucan, but is of course fiction. The murder takes place in the early 1990s, when the protagonist, Claire, now a doctor in London, was very young. Her mother Faye's friend Emma was brutally murdered, and Faye herself badly injured. Claire found Emma's body while her mother went to the nearby pub to call for help; the prime suspect was Claire's estranged father Colin, a privileged lord with a close circle of wealthy and influential friends to protect him, but Colin disappeared and was never seen again. Now, in the present day, Claire becomes determined to find her father, who she believes is still alive and was helped to start a new life abroad by those friends, so she can take her revenge on him. She's also struggling to emotionally support her little brother Robbie, a baby at the time of the murder, who is addicted to the painkiller Tramadol. When she anonymously reconnects with the daughter of a couple Colin was particularly close to, she befriends her in an attempt to find out more about her father's likely whereabouts. This is a slow-burning thriller about the abuses of power by those in the higher echelons of society, and it's quite gripping, with strong characterisation. The only negative thing I can say about it is that, as the author is an American, some Americanisms did creep into Claire's narrative (Claire is British), but I expect these may be edited out for the finished novel, as I read an uncorrected proof.

  22. 3 out of 5

    Melissa

    I received a copy of this from Netgalley in exchange for a review. Flynn Berry’s first novel was like stepping into an inviting pool that seemed shallow, finding yourself over your head, and then taking pleasure in submersion. These days I’m drawn less and less to psychological thrillers with unreliable narrators who may or may not be the real killer or in a coma or an alcoholic blackout at a given moment or whatever, but Under the Harrow never struck me as quite fitting into that category and, u I received a copy of this from Netgalley in exchange for a review. Flynn Berry’s first novel was like stepping into an inviting pool that seemed shallow, finding yourself over your head, and then taking pleasure in submersion. These days I’m drawn less and less to psychological thrillers with unreliable narrators who may or may not be the real killer or in a coma or an alcoholic blackout at a given moment or whatever, but Under the Harrow never struck me as quite fitting into that category and, until the end, nor did A Double Life. Yes, there’s a murder and a mysterious past and yes, there is a narrator with a secret name who does some very tense, questionable things that made me chew my fingernails a bit, but Berry’s skill as a writer helps transcend the straight-up thriller genre. I adore her dark and evocative place descriptions that put the reader exactly where she wants them, as well as the delectability of her fine details that make the most basic situations richer than the sum of their parts. Which makes it all the more painful that I can’t give this a higher rating, due to the ludicrous twist at the end that almost wholly negates everything the reader has been immersed in until the last few pages. It’s as if someone leaned over Berry's shoulder to tell her that every good thriller isn't complete without a nonsensical twist at the end, so she'd better get on it. (view spoiler)[Who the hell is Mark, hired by Lydia/Claire’s father to kill Faye? And who the hell is Liam, who has never been mentioned before but apparently is the father of Lydia/Claire’s unborn child? (hide spoiler)] While I was loving this even more than Under the Harrow, the bizarre and disappointing ending tainted everything that came before it. I believe that this would have been a far better book without the events of the last four pages.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne

    Thank you to Netgalley and Viking for a copy of the eARC in exchange for a fair review. Claire has been living a quiet life until one night a detective shows up at her door to get a DNA sample. They think they found her father. This sets Claire down a path, she knows that it isn't him, but this time she wants to find him and she wants to know the truth. She has followed James, one of her father friend's, off and on for a few years. She has finally figured out some of his secrets and she reconnect Thank you to Netgalley and Viking for a copy of the eARC in exchange for a fair review. Claire has been living a quiet life until one night a detective shows up at her door to get a DNA sample. They think they found her father. This sets Claire down a path, she knows that it isn't him, but this time she wants to find him and she wants to know the truth. She has followed James, one of her father friend's, off and on for a few years. She has finally figured out some of his secrets and she reconnects with Alice his daughter in order to find out more. Once Claire is invited back to Alice's family home, she begins digging around there in order to figure out if her dad was there, buried there or something else. Claire is determined to find out the truth about the night Emma, her nanny, was murdered and the night her mother was almost killed. Her mother claims it was her father, but his friends claim she was lying. Claire isn't quite sure about the truth, but she lost her mother as a teenager and she wants to know everything. Whew I couldn't stop reading this, I had to know what was going on. It was told mostly from Claire's point of view, although when she told the story of her mother and father leading up to that night, she tells it like a story told to her. I found it all fascinating and I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure it out. It wasn't super shocking, but I admit some of the twists at the end threw me. I actually really liked Claire she tried to be honest and I could tell that some of her actions pained her. I am kind of torn on the ending on the one hand it is kind of the best and on the other I still want some a little more.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

    Thirty years ago Claire woke to loud noises downstairs, only to discover her nanny Emma covered in blood. Claire’s mother and father who were estranged at the time whose names are Faye and Colin. Faye said Colin attacked her when she found him over Emma’s body bloody. Faye had escaped and ran for help and Colin disappeared. His car was found abandoned near the English Channel with blood stains on the front seat. His powerful wealthy friend maintain his innocence. Colin hasn’t been seen since. Th Thirty years ago Claire woke to loud noises downstairs, only to discover her nanny Emma covered in blood. Claire’s mother and father who were estranged at the time whose names are Faye and Colin. Faye said Colin attacked her when she found him over Emma’s body bloody. Faye had escaped and ran for help and Colin disappeared. His car was found abandoned near the English Channel with blood stains on the front seat. His powerful wealthy friend maintain his innocence. Colin hasn’t been seen since. This story is told completely in the POV of Claire whose obsessed with finding her father and bring justice to her murdered nanny and her mother who was hurt. She’s now a doctor leading a quite life living in fear every time there’s a supposed spotting of her father. Her brother Robbie is addicted to pain meds because he has trouble dealing with what there father did. This story was well written but I didn’t like the bouncing back in forth of now and in the past without warning but the book held my interest. Apparently this book was inspired by the unsolved lord Lucan case. I give this a 3.5 stars ⭐️ .!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Rosenblit

    DNF at 62% - I’m just not into this at all. More thoughts to come

  26. 3 out of 5

    Elaine

    A Double Life is a dull tale about Claire, a doctor and traumatized woman still struggling with the violence her father inflicted on her family over two decades ago. ** Minor spoilers ahead ** Based on a true crime case from 1970s London, Claire's father was accused of murdering the nanny and brutally assaulting his wife. He absconded the country with the help of his privileged, entitled friends. Claire is consumed with discovering her father's whereabouts, an obsession that has her leading a d A Double Life is a dull tale about Claire, a doctor and traumatized woman still struggling with the violence her father inflicted on her family over two decades ago. ** Minor spoilers ahead ** Based on a true crime case from 1970s London, Claire's father was accused of murdering the nanny and brutally assaulting his wife. He absconded the country with the help of his privileged, entitled friends. Claire is consumed with discovering her father's whereabouts, an obsession that has her leading a double life of her own, establishing contact with the daughter of one of her father's former friends on a false pretense that she may discover where the family is hiding her father. When she discovers where her father is, and tracks him down, she uncovers the reason why her mother and nanny were attacked, but retribution may be hard to come by when her father is reluctant to be brought to justice. First, if you're expecting to read a suspenseful story, this is not for you. Readers are told who the bad guy is. The mystery or lack of one is where he is. After a few pages, you won't care either way. Second, Claire is neither likable or unlikeable. She's more annoying; her narrator voice constantly jumps back and forth from present to past. This is incredibly distracting. What editor approved of this perspective? One minute she's discussing her patients and the next paragraph she's reminiscing about the ice cream her father brought her the day before he went ballistic. WTF? The continuous ping ponging threw the reader out of the story when we are expected to be engrossed in it. Third, the prose was very dry, lacking emotion or warmth. Claire as a character is underdeveloped and not fleshed out. She sounds a little unhinged at times, but that may be due to her brother's opioid addiction and her obsessive quest to find her father. It was hard for me to believe she was focused and intelligent enough to become a doctor. It seemed that stalking her father's friends and concocting stories to insinuate herself into their inner circle was her full time job. The premise sounded intriguing but an uneven writing style, poorly developed characters and a confusing tone made this a dud. I'd say the only positive was that this was a short read but I found myself struggling to finish the less than 300 pages. Never a good sign.

  27. 3 out of 5

    Kathy Martin

    Claire is a doctor in London living a seemingly normal life. Only a very few know that her father was a member of the upper class who was accused of murder and who fled the country rather than face prosecution. Claire was eight when someone broke in to their house and killed the nanny and attacked her mother. After the attack and the manhunt and Claire's mother being vilified by her father's friends, her mother changed their names and moved the family to Scotland. Claire's brother was only fourte Claire is a doctor in London living a seemingly normal life. Only a very few know that her father was a member of the upper class who was accused of murder and who fled the country rather than face prosecution. Claire was eight when someone broke in to their house and killed the nanny and attacked her mother. After the attack and the manhunt and Claire's mother being vilified by her father's friends, her mother changed their names and moved the family to Scotland. Claire's brother was only fourteen months old when all these events went on. It wasn't until Claire was a teenager that she began to do some research on the whole incident that she remembers only in nightmares. She becomes obsessed with finding her father. Even after getting her medical degree and moving to London to begin her career, she can't put the mystery behind her. She tracks and follows her father's friends and ingratiates herself into the life of one of their children to see if they know where her father is now. Meanwhile, her brother has become addicted to Tramadol - an opioid - and Claire is trying to convince him to go into treatment. She is constantly worried about him and his seizures show her that her worry is justified. In the continuum of writing styles which range from Hemingway to James Joyce, this book is much nearer the James Joyce end of the spectrum. The present and the past are integrated and entwined through the story. Claire has her mother's diaries to help her recreate the life her mother shared with her husband. She also has some childhood memories which make her question what happened. My main complaint about the story was that the long buildup of Claire's life and attempt to track down her father comes to quite an abrupt and surprising ending. Fans of introspective mysteries will enjoy this one.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Aisling

    I raced through this book barely breathing. I loved it. Flynn Berry is a very captivating writer. Her sentences pull you into the place and emotions of each moment--and they are harrowing. I know nothing about the original true case upon which this book is based; this works as a great novel anyway. I don't think I've ever read a more suspenseful book which spanned so much time. In the flashbacks the reader wants to know why her father murdered (if he did it) and in the present the reader wants t I raced through this book barely breathing. I loved it. Flynn Berry is a very captivating writer. Her sentences pull you into the place and emotions of each moment--and they are harrowing. I know nothing about the original true case upon which this book is based; this works as a great novel anyway. I don't think I've ever read a more suspenseful book which spanned so much time. In the flashbacks the reader wants to know why her father murdered (if he did it) and in the present the reader wants to know what happened to him/where he is. It's hard to put into words why this works but it really does. This book reminded me of The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale (also based on a true crime) but A Double Life is much tighter writing and adds a fictional ending which is heart pounding. Highly recommend this one!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Γιώτα Παπαδημακοπούλου

    (Review to come...)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Wanda

    The author, Flynn Berry, executes A Double Life in a taut writing style. The story starts out in a gripping voice as tense as a tight-wire on which to read upon. This proves to enhance the feeling of apprehension to the reader; an anxiety that the protagonist, Dr. Claire Alden, is undoubtedly experiencing. “In the next window, a man reclines in a chair while a barber brings a straight razor up his neck. Cold air cuts through the thin fabric of my jumper, and I zip my coat.” For me, sentence combin The author, Flynn Berry, executes A Double Life in a taut writing style. The story starts out in a gripping voice as tense as a tight-wire on which to read upon. This proves to enhance the feeling of apprehension to the reader; an anxiety that the protagonist, Dr. Claire Alden, is undoubtedly experiencing. “In the next window, a man reclines in a chair while a barber brings a straight razor up his neck. Cold air cuts through the thin fabric of my jumper, and I zip my coat.” For me, sentence combinations like this help me to clearly see that Claire is terrified to let her guard down – even for a moment. I am relishing this writing style; it has me on the edge all the time. It also makes me want to find out what happens next. However, I felt that the ending sort of fizzled out. I guess I was expecting this spectacular fireworks of an ending, you know – where all the best and biggest fireworks are let off at the end. The author meticulously gives out little bits and pieces of information as the story goes along. Even the characters are built up this way. A Double Life is a murder mystery, so there is a fair amount of violence, but it is not overly graphic. There are no steamy sex scenes. The story line weaves in and out of time, from different parts of the past to the present; which helps explain Claire’s motivation. The editing, on the kindle edition at least, needs some help. In the first paragraph of every chapter, the first letter of the first word is separated by double blank lines. Even when I tried to decrease the font size it made no difference. It is quite distracting. Also, randomly throughout the story, out of the blue, will appear either the author’s name or the title of the book in bold lettering. This tends to draw the reader out of the story in the most irritating way. Overall, I liked this story: 3.5 stars. Claire is a likeable character who pieces together the night that changed her family’s life. She was only a child at the time, but the damage has left Claire and her brother rather dysfunctional. Claire sees the man who attacked her mother in every stranger on the street, and her brother has addiction problems. Claire finally has her answers in the end and she does some things that had me asking why she would do that. I have thankfully received this book from PENGUIN GROUP Viking and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

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