disclaimer – i received a copy of this book via random house publishing – alibi in exchange for an honest review.
pen sheppard tells you at the very beginning of all these perfect strangers that she is not a reliable narrator. of course, she doesn’t come out and use those words. instead, she says that her story could be told a hundred different ways and that murder is a grey area. so from the start you have to ask yourself, can i trust this story? sometimes, though, even the most unreliable of narrators can be telling some of the truth.
aoife clifford‘s debut novel is a masterpiece of mystery and tension. there’s an almost unnerving sense of constant danger and never knowing who you can trust. mixed in with that is the idea that while you’re too close to pen and her story you actually don’t know anything about her.
all these perfect strangers isn’t just about the present. the past is a big player in this story and clifford deftly weaves flashbacks into the current timeline. that’s not an easy task and in the hands of a lesser writer, it would quickly become confusing and overwhelming. in clifford’s hands the past becomes a sculpting tool that helps to reveal the layers of pen’s life and psyche. pen is complicated and it’s possible she’s also dangerous. the question is, is she innocent or is she simply not guilty.
four out of five stars