Audiobook Review: His & Hers 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): 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Macmillan Audio (July 28, 2020)
Length: 10 hrs and 39 mins
Narrators: Richard Armitage, Stephanie Racine
His & Hers is the second book I’ve read by Alice Feeney, and it’s definitely a thriller that’s more to my tastes! I love a good mystery that presents multiple sides, keeping you on your toes to pick up on those subtle clues, not to mention the story also closes out on one hell of a fantastic twist. However, reader discretion is advised if you’re sensitive to certain topics, as this one also contains a lot of graphic depiction of unsettling themes throughout.
As for the novel’s story and plot structure, it might be a bit of a gimmick but I gave it credit for its cleverness and I thought it worked. “His” chapters are told from the perspective of police detective Jack Harper, an experienced and jaded old hand on the force who thought nothing could surprise him anymore—until his latest case that brings him to Blackdown, a quiet and peaceful English village upended by the brutal murder of a local woman. Meanwhile, chapters labeled “Hers” are told from the point-of-view of Anna Andrews, an ambitious reporter who recently lost a cushy news anchor position to return to her former job as a station correspondent. Along with her cameraman, she is called to Blackdown to cover the shocking story of the murdered woman.
From here on out, the surprises start coming at you in rapid fire. Blackdown turns out to be a significant place for Anna and Jack, as they both grew up and used to live there. The two also find out they know the murdered woman, identified as Anna’s childhood friend Rachel Hopkins, whom Jack also had been seeing recently for casual romantic dalliances. If his connection with the victim gets out, Jack knows how bad it will look, even without someone seemingly trying to plant evidence to frame him as the prime suspect. And the final surprise? Anna and Jack used to be married, but they divorced soon after the devastating death of their child which caused their relationship to fall apart. Now the two of them are thrust together again by the murder of Rachel, the situation made even more painful and difficult by the shared memories between them. But pretty soon, that awkwardness is replaced by sheer terror as a second victim is found, another woman who used to be part of Anna’s close circle of high school friends. Through a third perspective, we get to see through the eyes of the mysterious killer, who is constantly watching, plotting, and may be going after Anna next.
The author makes it no secret here that she is actively playing a game with the reader, trying to deceive and obfuscate, and I loved every moment. From the start, we are left wondering if we can trust either Jack or Anna because there are plenty of reasons given to doubt their narratives, with both having secrets to hide. Ironically, the only perspective that we can trust as the absolute truth is the killer’s, and their identify remains a mystery until the very end. In fact, the brilliant way their chapters are written does not rule them out from being literally anyone that you meet in the story—even our POV characters.
However, I also have to warn you, there is some seriously twisted, horribly sick shit in this book. Do not read if you are bothered by disturbing subjects such as animal cruelty, extreme bullying, traumatic loss of a child, sexual assault, and other such violent and unpleasant topics. This is a very dark thriller, especially in the sections that delve into Anna’s past. I’m talking the kind of stuff that makes you shake your head in disgust and wonder at the lack of humanity in some people.
As well, as with many thrillers, sometimes His & Hers can get a bit extreme and carried away with the shocks and surprises—unless, of course, that’s exactly what you signed up for. Feeney certainly isn’t the least bit shy or apologetic about throwing every kind of twist she can think of at us, which made this one a whiplash inducing read. But again, to an extent you must be willing to suspend your disbelief when it comes to the genre, so I’m not sure calling this one “over-the-top” is truly a criticism.
Ultimately, I found His & Hers very enjoyable and exactly what I wanted into a thriller, the kind that keeps you guessing until the very last moment. I also thought the book’s concept was pretty damn clever, and as difficult as it is to read at times because of its unsettling themes, I know I won’t be forgetting the story any time soon with the way it dug its claws into my heart.
Audiobook Comments: As a special bonus, I listened to the audiobook narrated by the one and only Richard Armitage alongside the equally talented Stephanie Racine, both of whom were perfect for their roles. I was especially thrilled with Armitage’s performance because I am a big fan of his work both on screen and in the audio recording booth, and his voice is especially well-suited for thrillers. I also enjoyed the voice changing/distortion effect used for the killer’s chapters, which helped to preserve the mystery. A great listen overall.