Secret Smile by Nicci French
The Third Day Book Club book this month is Secret Smile by Nicci French. Since I couldn’t find this book at my local Border’s I ordered it online and had no idea what sort of book I was going to read. It turns out Secret Smile belongs in the psychological suspense genre. The last two Book Club books were more literary in style so this book came as a surprise but in a way a welcome one, as I have been reading classics for a book challenge and needed an “easy read”.
Smile is about a woman, Miranda, who is unlucky in love. She briefly dates the wrong man. Brendan violates her trust and she dumps him and feels well out of the relationship. Little does she know that Brendan is a sociopath and determines to take his revenge in a twist on the old saying: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
I don’t want to spoil the story by telling all the ways he avenges himself. Suffice to say that the book builds a consistent level of creepy suspense. French is adept at showing how a skilled liar can manipulate all around him until even solid ground seems unstable.
Smile was a quick read, although there were moments when I didn’t want to read it home alone at night. The language and plot are well-crafted. I was a little disappointed in the ending. It struck me as a bit too pat, as if the novel needed to end, so a solution was devised in too much haste.
French has written a number of other novels. Would I read a book by her again? Possibly. This is the kind of book that is good for reading on an airplane or while sunning at the beach. If you like this genre, it is probably worth the weekend it will take you to read it.