This is my review of Disclaimer by Renée Knight.
How would you react if a book appeared in your possession, clearly based on a personal secret unknown to any living person which, if exposed, could ruin your professional career as an award-winning investigative television journalist and destroy your marriage? In this twisty page turner, the author skilfully reveals the facts, with a few red herrings, alternating chapters between the horrified Catherine, written in the third person, and the embittered author of the book who may himself be an unreliable narrator.
One of the most compelling aspects is the author’s ability to arouse sympathy at some point for all the main characters, even if one neither likes any of them, nor entirely trusts them. I also like the wry touches of humour, and the way she weaves in observations on a range of relationships: within marriage, between parents and only children, with an ageing mother slipping into dementia and in a variety of work situations, with a manipulative rival or a procedure-obsessed HR department.
My only reservation is that, although well-written and cleverly constructed, the book is occasionally just a little too much the product of a high-powered creative writing course – too contrived, pressing all the right buttons as regards say, just the right level of eroticism and drama, with a few twists too many at the end when the reader is already perfectly saturated with them.