Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Disclaimer: Renée Knight, March 7—13, 2016
My rating: ♦♦♦◊◊
Disclaimer joins the slew of apparent successors to Gone Girl, and it has plenty of the hallmarks: a relationship, a secret, a pair of alternating narrators and some cheeky withholding of salient facts.
Unfortunately, the real disclaimer should be that the quality is somewhat lower.
The cover’s promises of the next thriller being all about you makes it sound like a Ludlum-esque suspense novel, but in fact it’s a disgruntled old man writing an extended poison pen letter to a woman that featured in his past. Make no mistake, if it weren’t for the Flynn-like structure, this is closer to chick-lit territory than it would like to believe itself to be.
Knight conceals and misdirects quite effectively, and sets up a few twists. The biggest occur at the middle and end: the middle explains the angst, the end flips it all again. The former is good, the latter is frustrating.
With Gone Girl, which Disclaimer aspires to be according to its own marketing, Amy hold back to incriminate Nick and Nick holds back to avoid looking guilty. Here, Catherine has absolutely no fathomable reason for withholding her big twisty secret. For no reason, she keeps it to herself for an entire novel and then for yet another non-reason, chucks it out like a grenade at the end. It’s sort-of a clever idea, ruined by the implausibility of the character’s handling of it.
It makes for an extremely frustrating climax. If the characters had acted in any logical way, the events of the entire book simply wouldn’t have happened. In the end, it feels contrived and underwhelming. My next thriller may well be about me, but it won’t be by Renée Knight I’m afraid.