Familiar Strangers

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 May 2019

Member Reviews

A good read with an intriguing storyline. The plot was well thought out with lots of red herrings to mislead you along the way. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
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Wow fabulous debut thriller from Jackie Walsh had me gripped from the start. 
Great characters and a storyline full of exciting twists and turns, tension, mystery and a shocking twist at the end that I never saw coming. 
Highly recommended and look forward to next book.
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'I took you, Becca. You’re not my daughter.' 

Becca's mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimers and every day Becca loses another part of her loving and caring mother who would always go out of her way for her one and only daughter. But one day, Nancy Wall speaks those shocking words which chill Becca to her very core. Suddenly, the world she thought she knew begins to fall apart.

Ah this book was fantastic. I thought I knew exactly where it was going but then it threw yet more at me. I love fast paced books and I've found myself reading slow burns recently so this was a brilliant and refreshing change - a well needed mix up! 

Fans of The Girl on the Train, The Wife Between Us and T.M Logan will be LOVE this book. I whole hardheartedly recommend it. Do it. Read it.

I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own.
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Overall, this was a pretty good quick read. 

Becca, the narrator, is a bit lost in life. She is not making ends meet which is not surprising since work seems to be an option for her. She doesn’t seem to have any friends other than Jeff, who lives in the same building. Romance? None to speak of other than a really poor choice for a hookup.  Still she grew on me...

The premise is a good one and it was executed pretty well. There aren’t too many key players so the mystery seems pretty cut and dry. It’s not really though, and the reveal keeps you waiting to the bitter end. Satisfying? Not bad, but I was hoping for a bit more crazy and dark (reflection on me🙄).

The writing is good, the characters are well layered and the pace was decent. I looked at the author profile and it supplies nothing but I’m guessing she’s from the UK? At the 3/4 mark in this book some of the slang and phrasing definitely read like it. It didn’t detract and if you don’t read much from English authors you might not even notice it... Pretty entertaining, I would read more by this author.

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and Hera Books for a copy in exchange for a review.
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My nerves were really shredded to pieces and while it broke my heart it also kept me awake and wanting to find out what  happens next. The writting was as amazing
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This book whips along at a cracking pace as Becca finds herself at the middle of a murder mystery. I thought the premise was so intriguing - her mum telling her that she took her. Hmmm, tell me more! I found Becca a difficult person to relate to, although given her personal situation, with her mum suffering from early onset Alzheimer's, I can see why she was all over the place, but it all got a little frantic in parts and her decision-making was inconsistent to say the least!. Putting that aside, it's a great read as all the elements of this clever plot come together.
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Packed with suspense, Familiar Strangers was hard to put down. It was so twisty, it was kind of difficult to believe this was a debut novel. Becca adores her mom, is heartbroken at her early-onset Alzheimers, and then her mother, in a moment of lucidity, tells Becca, "I took you. You're not my daughter." Now, how was I supposed to stop reading after that announcement? There were enough twists and turns in the book that kept me turning page after page to get to the truth. Every time I had to put it down, I couldn't wait to get back to it. 

I really don't think you'll be disappointed with this thriller.
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Alzheimers is a absolutely horrible condition that not only robs people of their memories and identities but also forces their loved ones to witness the slow,cruel deterioration of the person that they love. As I get older,it is a condition that terrifies me especially when I have moments when I struggle to remember the names of objects or how to spell a word. Alzheimers and identity crisis are themes that run parallel throughout this fast paced,heart string pulling,gripping thriller.

Rebecca Wall's mother Nancy is in a care home,slowly deteriorating due to Alzheimers. Nancy does still have some lucid moments and it is during one of these rare moments when she informs Rebecca that she is not actually Nancy's daughter,that Nancy had taken her. Rebecca is convinced that Nancy is confused because of the Alzheimers and vows to just ignore what her mother said and get on with her life. Only fate has more shocks planned for Rebecca Wall and she soon finds herself coming to the attention of the police. A young women Katie Collins has been reported missing by her husband after apparently telling him that she was going to find Rebecca Wall and despite Rebecca insisting that she has no idea who Katie was, the police are convinced that Rebecca knows more than she is admitting.

The story follows Rebecca as she somewhat reluctantly at first tries to uncover the truth about her parentage whilst struggling with her doubts,the constant questioning by the police and the mental deterioration of both her mother and her father. Neither Rebecca nor the reader has any idea who she can trust as she encounters untrustworthy characters,betrayals and uncovers shocking secrets and lies. Rebecca was a flawed,complex character who I had mixed feelings about as the story unfolded. Sometimes I felt sympathy for her whilst at other times,her behaviour and indecisiveness were frustrating and I just wanted to reach into my kindle,grab her by the shoulders and give her a good shaking.

Familiar Strangers is packed full of twists and turns,red herrings, keeps the reader guessing and frantically turning the pages. The author has written about how Alzheimers affects the lives of sufferers and their loved ones with sensitivity, compassion and with heart breaking realism. I couldn't put this enthralling thriller down and look forward to reading more books by this author in the future. Very very highly recommended.
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5☆ Enthralling, Twisty, Gripping, yet so very Poignant! 

Wow this was a gripping psychological thriller with a very poignant storyline.

Rebecca's Mother has Alzheimer's and it's in the advanced stages.
At some point we all have encounters with this heart breaking and cruel condition.
My Auntie passed away 17months ago and she too had Alzheimer's so this was a particularly tough story to read.
But despite it being a tough read, it was so enthralling I was drawn in from the start!

Back to the story!

What what you do if your mother told you that she had taken you and you're not her daughter?? 
Bearing in mind Rebecca's Mother has Alzheimer's!
Well that's what happened to Rebecca.

Then things start to take a sinister turn.
Someone has been in Rebecca's flat.
The police are looking for Rebecca in question, of the disappearance of Katie Collins.
But who is Katie?
Why is she looking for Rebecca? 
And why when she turns up dead is Rebecca the prime suspect?
Is there any connection to her Mother's mystery outburst?

So many juicy questions, so many thrilling twists!
Who to trust and who to believe.

The opening prologue was eerie and I loved it! I left me completely intrigued.

Familiar Strangers is cleverly written, and the twists and turns plotted perfectly!
It's gripping, pacy, enthralling, kept me on my toes, exciting, yet very emotional and had me tearing up. 
I've not read a psychological thriller before that has evoked such strong emotional reactions, which is a big credit to Jackie Walsh.
The Characters are deeply flawed yet perfect for the storyline. 

If you are looking for a psychological thriller with a poignant twist, that will keep you on your toes, yet will tug at your heart strings, and provides enthralling twists and turns then you will adore Familiar Strangers! 

I can't wait to discover more from Jackie Walsh, she is definitely going on my to watch out for list!

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side Tours and Hers Books for this copy which I reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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A nail-biting chiller that will leave you breathless, Familiar Strangers is an outstanding tale where the pace never flags, the action never stops and the shocks come thick and fast. If you are a fan of Sophie Hannah and Paula Hawkins, then Jackie Walsh is a name you must add to your auto-buy list.

Nancy Wall was a loving and caring mother whom Becca absolutely adores. Nancy’s support of Becca was unconditional, so it was doubly heartbreaking when Nancy was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s and each day Becca loses yet another piece of the mother who means the world to her. When Nancy confesses that Becca was not her daughter, Becca initially dismisses this as yet another agonizing and devastating side effect of the cruel illness that has afflicted her mother. Becca only needs to look at her birth certificate and the family album to know that Nancy had given birth to her and gave her the best possible start in life. However, when the police arrive on her doorstep to question her about the whereabouts of a missing woman, Katie Collins, Becca’s life is turned upside down. Has her mother been lying to her all her life? Who is Katie Collins and what is her connection to Becca and her family?

Katie had disappeared after telling her family that she is leaving them to track down Rebecca Wall. But Becca has never heard of Katie and she doesn’t know what could possibly connect the two of them. Becca thinks that this is a case of mistaken identity, however, as she begins to investigate Katie Collins, Becca’s world comes tumbling down. Has she been fed nothing but lies and reared on deceit and manipulation? What is the truth? And why has it always been kept a secret from Becca?

As Becca begins to untangle this web of mystery and deception, she realizes that somebody knows the truth – and they will go to any lengths to ensure that it stays dead and buried…whatever it takes!

Familiar Strangers is domestic noir at its most fiendish and mesmerizing. Jackie Walsh certainly knows how to plumb the dark depths of the human soul and exposes with great style the vulnerabilities, frailties and fears that grab a hold of us in our most fragile moments. Familiar Strangers is a book that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end and have you on tenterhooks as you find yourself completely consumed by this intense, twisted and visceral psychological crime thriller.

A white-knuckle ride of a book that is hard to put down and ever harder to forget, Familiar Strangers heralds the arrival of a wonderful new talent in the field of domestic thrillers: Jackie Walsh.
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What a brilliant debut – I was completely gripped from beginning to end!

Becca’s Mum is in a care home suffering from early on-set Alzheimer’s and Becca visits her all the time.  But one day her Mum suddenly blurts out that she’s not her daughter, and that she had taken her……The comment rocks Becca’s world but she’s convinced that’s not true.

The DI Turner starts questioning her about a woman called Katie Collins who has recently gone missing, and is apparently looking for her.  Becca has no idea who this person is and why they would be looking for her but the Detective doesn’t appear to be convinced and keeps on at her….so she decides she must do some digging to find out why? Why would Katie be looking for her?

As Becca’s world collapses around her, an unbelievable tale unravels……..and the ending will blow you away!

This storyline is fantastic! You’re on this amazingly complicated, twisted journey with Becca as she tries to uncover the truth….but there are so many other things that happen along the way.  I went through convinced it was one person, then another and only near the very end did I kind of change my mind and got it right!

There are so many twists and turns that you will want to keep reading, to find out what is actually happening!  Who is Katie? Why is she looking for Becca? What do her family know? And where is Katie now?

The characters are fantastic, and the writing style is clear and easy to read and follow.  This is an absolutely brilliant debut and I’m desperately looking forward to more from this author! She’s one to watch!
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Perfect psychological thriller!  It moved at a fast pace with twists and turns throughout!  I couldn’t put it down!  Highly recommend!
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‘I took you, Becca. You’re not my daughter.’
Since Becca Wall’s mother was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, every day Becca loses a little more of the loving, caring mother who would do anything for her only daughter. But when one day Nancy Wall confesses that Becca is not her child, her world falls apart.
Becca tells herself that the words are just a cruel symptom of Nancy’s illness; after all, she has her birth certificate, and pictures of herself as a newborn along with her Mom, Dad and older brother, Danny. Becca tries to forget, to get on with her life – until the day the police question her about the whereabouts of a missing woman, Katie Collins.
Katie has disappeared without a trace, telling her husband that she is leaving to find Rebecca Wall. But Becca doesn’t know Katie, so it’s a case of mistaken identity – isn’t it? But as Becca discovers why Katie was desperate to find her, the lies that Becca has always believed come crashing down. Soon, it’s clear that someone knows the truth – and that they’ll stop at nothing to keep their secrets…

This is a mix of family drama and thriller and Jackie Walsh has written an empathetic description of the horrendous disease, that is Alzheimer’s.
This is such a good psychological thriller, the right amount of mystery and interesting characters which had me really emotionally invested in what happened to them.
Such wonderfully written characters that you can see it all unfold before your eyes.
I love the story line and plot and I did not see the twist at the end coming.
This is an excellent debut novel that definitley brought me to tears.
Recommend reading.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC . This is my own honest voluntary review.
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Familiar Strangers is an excellent, page turner of a thriller.  The prologue grabs you with it’s final line and from there it becomes a roller coaster ride.

Becca is written as a character who has friends and acquaintances, two jobs and a family who she sees regularly but still seems to live an almost lonely and solitary existence.  Even from early on in the story we see Becca make some interesting and questionable decisions and as the plot moves forward this seems to continue.  Jackie Walsh does an amazing job of projecting the main protagonist’s (Becca) emotions through her writing style. As the plot unravels, so does Becca and the writing becomes more frantic and paranoid – making sure you go through exactly the same emotions as Becca is feeling.

The plot itself is suspenseful and compulsive reading.  The more you read the more suspicious everyone seems to be and the more paranoid you become.  As Becca searched for answers regarding the murdered girl, I found it difficult to trust any character, making the narrative more intense as it moved forward.  Small clues were given throughout the book but didn’t give anything away until everything fell into place and built into a climactic close.

Highly recommended for lovers of intense psychological thrillers.
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'Familiar Strangers' has such a lot of promise. As an intense read, Jackie Walsh has that bang on. I mean, with a line coming out of Becca's mothers mouth being, 'I took you, Becca. You’re not my daughter.', it really could not be anything other than intense. I don't know about you, but those eight words sent tingles up and down my spine.

As an emotive read, again, Jackie Walsh nails that element as well because the storyline also deals with the turmoil behind early onset Alzheimers and the effects it has both on the person, and the family. Those parts of the book aren't easy to read, and I am sure that they aren't very easy to live through either, however I am very glad that I was able to have my eyes opened to such a heartbreaking illness. I wish there was more help for the sufferers and their families. I cannot even begin to imagine how emotional seeing your loved one going through that must be.

However, like I said at the star, the book has a lot of promise. For me, I found the way everything was brought together wasn't as tight as it could have been. There was a lot of scene setting and less actual action. I know that scenes need to be set in order for the storyline to work, I just felt that there was more descriptions about what Becca did daily, instead of the nitty gritty details such as Katie Collins. I also found the ending to be a little bit rushed which was a shame.

Aside from that, I enjoyed the complex family dynamics, the intense relationships, and the uncertainty between each of the characters. I thought that the psychological element of the book was utterly brilliant and left my mind in absolute turmoil. I think that Jackie Walsh has an incredible, incredible talent that I cannot wait to see grow as she releases more books.
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Familiar Strangers by Jackie Walsh is the story of Becca Wall.  Becca's mother has onset early Alzheimer's, and she told Becca she was not her biological mother.  Becca is determined to find the truth.  The story moves at a fast pace and kept me guessing til the end with all the twists and turns!  I recommend this book for mystery lovers.  

I reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley and the publisher.  Thank you.
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"Familiar Strangers" by Jackie Walsh 

Becca's mom has Alzheimer.  She tells her she's not her mom, Becca is not her daughter...  Crazy scary!  I can't even imagine how I would feel!  Between wondering if it was the disease making her say that or the truth...  Her life will never be the same... 
Then there's a dead body... 

A good fast paced psychological thriller!
I really loved it! 
I was into it from the start!  Hard to put down! 

I want to read more by Jackie Walsh.  

Thank you to NetGalley and Hera Books for the ARC of this book.  This is my honest review.  All opinions are my own!
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𝒮𝓊𝓈𝓅𝑒𝓃𝓈𝑒𝒻𝓊𝓁. 𝒞𝑜𝓂𝓅𝓊𝓁𝓈𝒾𝓋𝑒. 𝐼𝓃𝓉𝓇𝒾𝑔𝓊𝒾𝓃𝑔.

   Jackie Walsh’s debut was addictive, compelling, and suspenseful. Becca is 27 and hasn’t quite figured out what she wants to do with her life. Her loving mother suffers from early onset Alzheimer’s and it has obviously had a huge impact on Becca and her family. One day when Becca was visiting her mother at the care facility her mother tells her “you’re not my daughter, I took you.“ that’s it one lucid moment that might change everything. Becca doesn’t know what to think, but when a woman is murdered who had been looking for her, A complete stranger, she begins to wonder, was there some truth behind my mom’s words? And if so who am I?

   This book had a bit of a whodunit vibe for me, the mystery of who killed Katie Collins (the stranger). Becca was a likable flawed character. Yes she made some questionable choices, but don’t we all? I also really liked how clever it was to have Becca’s mom Nancy make this major revelation, but never be able to explain it. There was a feeling of tension and urgency throughout the story that kept me frantically turning those pages. I felt for Becca, can’t even imagine thinking you aren’t who you think you are. I was really happy she had Jeff by her side throughout the book, and in my mind they end up getting together and living happily ever after.

   This was a well told, well paste, compulsively readable story. And impressive debut and I am looking forward to seeing what is next from Jackie Walsh.

*** many thanks to Hera Books for my copy of this book ***
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This is one of those books where I was initially attracted to reading it because the cover looked so interesting. The power of a good book cover really worked here! 

Becca Wall is a character you really can feel sympathy for. Her mother is in a care home suffering with Alzheimer’s and it must be so hard for her to diligently visit each week never knowing if she will remember who she is. When her mother drops the bombshell that she took Becca as a child, Becca isn’t sure whether this was part of her mothers Alzheimer’s or a rare moment of lucidity. 

The second character of note here is Katie, who is looking for Becca, but Becca doesn’t know who Katie is, so why is she looking for her? The mystery of these two characters is at the heart of this story and slowly but surely Becca learns more information and starts to piece together why it is Katie has been looking for her. 

This book had a few twists and turns and I spent most of the book thinking it was going to have a certain kind of ending only to be pleasantly surprised when the book took a different turn all together!
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Familiar Strangers is a book in which Alzheimer's, a horrific disease, plays a substantial role and this makes it not only completely gripping but also very emotionally resonant too. A lot of what happens is believable and having had a close relative deteriorate and pass away due to complications of the disease I feel it is importantly portrayed in a realistic manner, treated sensitively and compassionately, and has been researched thoroughly. There are a decent amount of twists in the tale which take you by surprise and once you've picked it up the only time you'll be putting it down is when it's concluded.

Walsh is one of those writers who is adept at crafting a novel overflowing with suspense and one in which you don't know who to trust. It has you questioning everyone's intentions right from the beginning. I am amazed that this is a debut as it is a pretty excellent read with relatable characters, a solid plot and a plethora of red herrings and misdirection to keep you guessing. I look forward to her following novels. Many thanks to Hera Books for an ARC.
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