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#BookReview – Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister

anything you do sayJoanna is an avoider. So far she has spent her adult life hiding bank statements and changing career aspirations weekly.

But then one night Joanna hears footsteps on the way home. Is she being followed? She is sure it’s him; the man from the bar who wouldn’t leave her alone. Hearing the steps speed up Joanna turns and pushes with all of her might, sending her pursuer tumbling down the steps and lying motionless on the floor.

Now Joanna has to do the thing she hates most – make a decision. Fight or flight? Truth or lie? Right or wrong? 

Published 25th January 2018 by Penguin (UK)

 

I went into Anything You Do Say knowing very little about it. I knew that Gillian McAllister’s books had been highly praised by lots of my blogger pals, and so when I was browsing Amazon a few weeks ago on a bit of a kindle splurge, I clicked the buy now button without even reading the synopsis. If I had read it, then I’d have excitedly bought it thinking it sounded right up my street, but you know what? It was an absolute treat to know so little and be so completely blown away by a plot I wasn’t expecting and a thrilling story of what if’s, alternative paths and many twists and turns.

The book begins when, after an unpleasant experience in a nightclub, Joanna hears footsteps behind her. Convinced she is being followed she acts out impulsively to protect herself and is then left with a moral dilemma. Should she stay and help the injured man who she believed was about to attack her? Or should she run? I have to say, this tense introduction to Joanna’s dilemma is both chilling and completely believable. I could imagine the scenario acting out, feel her unease and fear as she hears the footsteps, and sense the building panic that explodes in a rash action which will turn her world upside down, whatever she decides to do.

But will Joanna make the right decision? Well, we get to find out the consequences of both with alternating chapters titled reveal and conceal. I LOVED this! I’ve read books that use the Sliding Doors concept before, but Gillian McAllister does it so very, very well. I was hooked to both stories – becoming riveted as Joanna’s life hurtles in one direction before having it all upended and becoming immersed in an alternative version, as she battles in each with the aftermath of her decision.

Yet, what struck me was that whichever version I was reading, I was absolutely convinced by the characters and their actions, and despite the tension and drama which unfolds, McAllister maintains an air of authenticity throughout. I believed this could happen. I believed in both outcomes to Joanna’s dilemma. And I was gripped from beginning to end. Anything You Do Say is clever, complex and thought provoking.  I flew through the pages, thinking just one more chapter before suddenly finding I’d read a huge chunk of book, desperately wanting to know the outcome to both scenarios. A fantastic read, which will have you questioning what you’d do in that situation and pondering how a split second can change your whole life.

 

 

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