Lately I have been reading a lot of psychological thrillers. Each one has been slightly different, but all of them have been heart-pounding reads. Psychological thrillers tend to stay with me. I dream about the characters and what is happening to them. I find this is a genre I have a hard time putting down and getting back to real life and I also have a hard time letting go of the characters for days, sometimes weeks.
In The Girl I Used to Be by Mary Torjussen, Gemma Brogman is a real estate agent and her husband, Joe, stays home with their little boy Rory. Gemma works long hours, seven days a week, not leaving Joe much time to have adult time outside of the house. One day Gemma shows a nice looking man (David) several apartments as he waits for money from the sale of his house to hit the bank.
A few days later Gemma heads to London for a conference. She decided to go a day early to have alone time away from her busy schedule and her family. Instead of taking a bath and going to bed with a book, she decides to eat at the hotel restaurant. While talking to other real estate agents, she sees her client David across the room. To avoid an annoying acquaintance, Gemma decides to have dinner with David.
After dinner, they both head to their rooms located on different floors. While on the elevator, Gemma is super tipsy and stumbles all over. She doesn’t remember drinking that much so David helps Gemma to her room where he kisses her. Gemma wakes in the morning with a horrible hangover and doesn’t remember the night after the kiss.
Now back home, Gemma starts to receive weird messages and photos that she doesn’t remember being taken while at the conference about situations she doesn’t remember. Each photo is more horrible than the next. Who is blackmailing her? And who is David who she can no longer contact?
Part one of the book moves along smoothly, slowly building the story. We learn about Gemma and her husband and we meet her co-workers. We learn that Gemma is not happy that Joe stays home all the time instead of going back to work so she can cut back on her work schedule and spend more time with Rory. She’s jealous of Joe and how Rory goes to him first instead of her.
We learn that Joe wants to get out more with his friends and have more of an adult life. I think he secretly is jealous of Gemma with her work schedule keeping her away from the home all the time. But Joe doesn’t seem like he wants to go back to work. He’s almost a little annoying. Part two really kicks up the psychological warfare. We quickly learn who is involved with the blackmail and what is really happening.
Think about riding a roller coaster. The first hill is super big. It’s a slow climb to the top, making the riders’ nerves increase on what could be on the other side of the crest of the hill. That’s part one. Then think of what happens when you go over the crest of the hill and you pick up speed heading down the hill, hair blowing behind you, stomach dropping and you are probably screaming. That is part two.
I had a really hard time putting this book down. It was a good thing I had an ebook copy or I probably would have flipped to the back of the book because I couldn’t read fast enough to find out the who and why. A good stormy day would have been nice so I could have curled up on the couch and read it in one sitting. If my friends and family ask for a book recommendation, The Girl I Used to Be will be one of the first books I recommend. Make sure you block off time because you will want to read The Girl I Used to Be in one sitting.
The acclaimed author of Gone Without a Trace returns with a new novel of twisting psychological suspense in which a woman is forced to face down her blackmailer.
Someone’s been sending Gemma compromising photos. Photos she doesn’t remember. She can’t recall much about that night during a work conference–she’d written off her headache the next morning as the result of too much drinking at the hotel bar. But then increasingly disturbing photos start appearing in her email, along with bills and other items she can’t account for. As the blackmailer grows bolder and events start to escalate beyond her control, Gemma fears for her already shaky marriage and worries that the truth of what really happened that night must be more twisted than she imagines.
Unable to go to the police for fear that she will lose her family, Gemma resolves to hunt down the blackmailer on her own. But not everyone in Gemma’s life is who they seem, and as she gets closer to the truth, she discovers just how far the shadows from her past can reach.
Until Next Time, enjoy the view from your passenger seat