Book Review: Before I Let You In & Cradle and All

As an apology for the late post, this week’s Thriller February post contains not one, but two reviews!

Our first novel is Jenny Blackhurst’s physiological thriller Before I Let You In and I want to say thank you to Headline for sending me a copy of this book.

If you don’t know who is walking through the door, how do you know if you should let them in?

Karen is meant to be the one who fixes problems.

It’s her job, as a psychiatrist – and it’s always been her role as a friend.

But Jessica is different. She should be the patient, the one that Karen helps.

But she knows things about Karen. Her friends, her personal life. Things no patient should know.

And Karen is starting to wonder if she should have let her in . . .

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Isn’t that what you do, Dr Browning? Fix the poor little mental cases, make their lives as perfect as yours?

Initially, I was a bit worried about reading Before I Let You In. I had absolutely nothing but high praise for Blackhurst’s debut novel, How I Lost You (You can read my review of it here if you missed it) and was naturally apprehensive about whether or not her second book would be as gripping. Now, I can easily dismiss those fears as I had nothing to worry about.

How I Lost You remains my favourite of the two as it did take me a while to get into Before I Let You In and adjust to the multiple character point-of-views. However, once the intricate plot began to unravel, I found myself captivated and unable to put it down.

What I love about Blackhurst’s novels is that every little detail has been well thought out and cleverly executed to keep the reader guessing. At first you may think that you know where the story is going, but then your suspicions change as Blackhurst takes you down another completely different tangent.

Packed with shocking twists and turns that test the core friendship between Karen and her pals, Before I Let You In is another example of just why Jenny Blackhurst is one of the best new thriller authors around. I don’t know how she does it!


I had the pleasure of completing a placement at Penguin Random House at the end of last year until the beginning of the January and I was lucky enough to be able to have some free books to take home!

As I was working for the publicity department at  Cornerstone, I had a lot of thrillers, science fiction and autobiographical novels to choose from. This included an abundance of James Patterson novels of which I took home about three and as you can tell from the title, the second book in this post and the Patterson book I’ll be reviewing today is Cradle and All.

Stupidly, I didn’t know it was going to be a supernatural themed novel when I picked it up at Penguin. Had I know, it probably wouldn’t have been featured in thriller week and would’ve saved for Halloween. However, as I have very little time to substitute it with another thriller as I have very few new ones on-hand, it will have to do! I just hope I have better luck hitting the genre with Patterson’s 15th Affair that I also picked up at Penguin which will be next week’s review.

In Boston and an ocean away, in Ireland, two young women-both virgins-find themselves pregnant. Around the world, epidemics, droughts, famines, floods, and worse threaten major cities.

Terrifying forces of light and darkness are gathering, and former run turned P.I. Anne Fitzgerald investigates the immaculate conceptions to discover the truth-and to save the young women, and possibly herself.

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There were two virgins, thousands of miles apart. One would bear the Son of God, the Saviour. The other girl would bear the Son of Satan.

Partly why there was no review last week was because I found it so hard to write about what I thought of Cradle and All. It was quite middle-of-the-road.

The narrative and story itself is very well written with succinct, yet sharp chapters that are always full of suspense. I generally enjoyed following Anne’s point-of-view and on the whole, the actual plot line was really intriguing. I was always to-ing and fro-ing between which virgin mother I thought was carrying the spawn of Satan. Patterson’s story-telling deliberately leads you to believe it is going to be this one girl, but I was sad to find out it was the other.

However, the romance was a bit unnecessary for me and quite honestly, with everything else going in the novel, I found it hard to care. As a standalone novel, the romantic element just didn’t work and often felt two-dimensional.

On the whole, it’s a quick and spooky read that’s probably ideal for Halloween reading. While I found that the writing perhaps wasn’t as captivating or lyrical as some other mystery and thriller novels I have read, I think the premise alone and the action is enough to keep going and see it through until the end.


NEXT WEEK FOR THRILLER FEBRUARY… I’ll be reviewing James Patterson’s 15th Affair


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