Audiobook Review: I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Macmillan Audio (April 23, 2019)
Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins
Narrator: Stephanie Racine
I’ve been on a thriller kick lately, and maybe that’s why, after reading a lot of the same-old-same-old, I found I Know Who You Are to be entertaining but it did not really wow me. That said, it if you enjoy a good psychological suspense-thriller, it is completely serviceable and shouldn’t disappoint.
Told in alternating chapters, I Know Who You Are is a novel featuring two narrative threads. One is about Aimee Sinclair, an up-and-coming actress who recently landed the leading role in a major film. But her success is precarious; any kind of scandal or negative press would be enough to put an end to her career before it even begins. One day, during a break in filming, Aimee returns home to find her house empty, her husband Ben nowhere to be found even though he should be waiting for her. Most disconcerting of all is that his cellphone and wallet had been left behind, and Aimee knows Ben would never go anywhere without them. Worried, she calls the police, but when they show up, their investigation only leads to even more questions. Worse, Aimee becomes a suspect herself, which would ruin her if the press ever gets wind of her husband’s disappearance.
The other narrative thread takes place in the past, following a little girl who is abducted by a disturbed couple and raised as their own. This is Aimee’s childhood—she was given a new name, a new life, and told to never speak of her time with her real family ever again. Over the next few years, Aimee was subjected to many abuses and traumas that no child should ever have to experience, and yet, she could not help but love her kidnappers, who still took care of her and loved her in their own sick, twisted way.
More than this I will not reveal, given how this genre thrives surprises and the unexpected. Needless to say though, by the end of the book, all the connections will be made, questions will be answered, and what happens will probably shock you. Personally, I thought the ending was completely insane and loved the bombshells dropped on us in the final chapters, despite some of the revelations straining my ability to suspend disbelief. Still, as one can argue this is par for the course when it comes to thrillers, I was more than willing to overlook the more outrageous and absurd plot points in the conclusion. Instead, most of the things I did not like about this novel had more to do with what happened in the lead-up and middle sections.
For one, things felt a little too drawn out. While the two alternating storylines created tension and intrigue, eventually this back-and-forth began to wear on my nerves. Following the life of young Aimee became my favorite part of the book, whereas the present Aimee chapters became somewhat tiresome and repetitive. The author utilized short chapters and switched frequently, probably intending to give both timelines the same amount of attention. Instead, I felt that too much time was spent puttering about the insecurities and uncertainties of older Aimee’s life when all I wanted was for the book to go back to focus on poor little younger Aimee, whose day-to-day existence was both fascinating and horrific to read about.
Which brings me to my second issue with this novel, which is namely its heavy reliance on purposefully shocking the reader, using some methods that are more blatant than others. Again, this is not so unusual for the genre (and normally not something I would even point out as a flaw) except that the shock factor felt so imbalanced. Like I said, the middle parts of the book were just okay in terms of engaging my interest, and it almost felt like the author was trying to overcompensate with the ending, throwing in something so crazy and over-the-top in the hopes of “making up for it.”
Still, I did enjoy this book, even if I didn’t think it was anything too special. If you read a lot of thrillers, some of the plot points may feel familiar (a missing spouse, the unreliable narrator, some ambiguity surrounding memory, etc.) but the ending will likely get a strong reaction, and ultimately it’s why I felt this book was worth my time, despite its flaws. I Know Who You Are might not be the best I’ve read in this genre, but there’s good entertainment value.
Audiobook Comments: I thought narrator Stephanie Racine could have varied her voices a little more, but she was an excellent reader and had a good feel for Aimee, especially in the childhood chapters where getting the character’s emotions across was so important. Overall, I felt she delivered a good performance.