The Girl in Red, by John Nicholl

Eight stars

Master of the h psychological thriller, John Nicholl builds on a previously limited release novella ( that offers much bone-chilling excitement as the story progresses. Kathy Conner lives the most horrible life possible. An abusive husband who bullies her unremittingly with no one who will believe her, either the family she has regularly called or the police who turn up at the door. Married to Police Inspector Michael Conners, Kathy is sure that she will never rid herself of this monster, especially when he offers such a calm demeanour to the outside world. At her breaking point, Kathy begins concocting a plan as her only way out, though it will take all the patience she can muster. Never knowing if each night Michael comes home will be her last on earth, one day Kathy takes a chance in order to free herself of his shackles and punish him for all that he has done to her. While her plan seems foolproof from the outset, it will take all Kathy has to ensure its success. A great story that reminds the reader of how addictive Nicholl can be, especially when he tosses in a wonderful twist at the end. Perfect for Nicholl fans and those who enjoy a quick-paced psychological thriller.

I remember when I first discovered Nicholl on a whim and could not put the book down. Promising I would keep an eye out for any of his future publications, Nicholl kept me on his own personal radar. Each book built on strengths from the last and this piece fits perfectly into the flow and ongoing positive development of his writing style. The story builds on a few central characters and the emotional differences between them, namely Kathy and Michael. From there, it is the slowly evolving thought processes that Kathy exhibits that keeps the reader wanting to know how it will all come to a climax, even when a pitfall almost ruins her plan. The reader goes through all the ups and downs faced by an abused woman with the desire to flee, even when she finds herself under the thumb of the abuser. A mix of short and long chapters keeps the reader hooked and demanding more. With Nicholl’s past professional experience in this area, it is no surprise that he is able to write so seamlessly and presents the reader will a stellar story whose impact resonate powerfully.

Kudos, Mr. Nicholl for such a wonderful piece of work. I am truly blessed to be able to read and share your work with others and hope you have many more stories to come.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: