Title: Beautiful Bad
Author: Annie Ward
Genre: Domestic Thriller
Publisher: Park Row
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Physical ARC provided by publisher
Beautiful Bad is a GRIPPING domestic thriller. The opening scene of the book is a 911 call in which a woman is frantically asking for help while a child screams in the background before the call is disconnected. An officer arrives at the scene to see a pool of blood on the floor inside the house. From here the story diverges into a couple different timelines and perspectives. We see Maddie, a woman who is married and has a young son, while she see’s a therapist for the first time. We get a glimpse into her current life of being a mother while also recovering from a traumatic accident that has affected her mental health. We also get flashbacks to 2001 when Maddie was a young writer living in the Balkans. She had a best friend named Jo that she spent much of her time with when she was not working. While she and Jo are out one night they meet a man named Ian who changes the course of their friendship.
Slowly you begin to learn the connections between all the characters and what may have lead to their current situations. It is very much a psychological thriller in which you are constantly trying to figure out what happened, while also staying completely engaged in what is unfolding on the page. I had a hard time putting this one down and only did so when my eyes became too heavy to continue reading.
If domestic thrillers are your thing, you will absolutely want to pick this one up. It will keep you guessing so clear your schedule, because you won’t want to put it down!
Thank you so much to Park Row, Harlequin Books, & TLC Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to read this fantastic book!
“Everywhere you looked, there where ghosts. The black-and-white paper death notices featuring photos of the recently deceased were omnipresent in all the Balkan countries; stapled to telephone poles, plastering bus stops, papering walls and nailed to trees.”
-Annie Ward, Beautiful Bad
*Please note, this quote is from an ARC copy, so it may change in the final copy.
Synopsis: Things that make me scared: When Charlie cries. Hospitals and lakes. When Ian drinks vodka in the basement. ISIS. When Ian gets angry… That something is really, really wrong with me.
Maddie and Ian’s romance began with a chance encounter at a party overseas; he was serving in the British army and she was a travel writer visiting her best friend, Jo. Now almost two decades later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in Middle America. But when a camping accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending writing therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian’s PTSD; her concerns for the safety of their young son, Charlie; and the couple’s tangled and tumultuous past with Jo.
From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, sixteen years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 911 call summons the police to the scene of a shocking crime.
Annie Ward has a BA in English literature from UCLA and an MFA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. Her first short screenplay, Strange Habit, starred Adam Scott and won awards at the Aspen and Sundance Film Festivals. She lives in Kansas with her two sons and British husband, whom she met in the Balkans. She was recently awarded a Fulbright scholarship and An Escape to Create artist’s residency.
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