25 July 2014

Review: What Came Before by Anna George

What Came Before by Anna George book cover
* Copy courtesy of The Reading Room and Penguin Random House *

What Came Before is the debut novel from Anna George, a Melbourne based author with a background as a lawyer.

Set in suburban Melbourne, this novel about love and domestic violence has one of the best opening lines I've read all year, and it certainly sucks you in from the beginning:
“My name is David James Forrester. I’m a solicitor. Tonight, at 6.10, I killed my wife.  This is my statement.”
This psychological thriller is told in flash back sequences by David's wife Elle Nolan, as she is floating above her broken body, a victim of domestic violence.  We also hear David's perspective as he panics and tries to grapple with his foul deed.

What Came Before is an interesting and slightly disturbing insight into a seemingly normal relationship and it's steady decline.  Knowing the ending doesn't detract from the plot, and I think it's a good warning for those finding themselves in a troubled relationship.

My only problem was that I recently read Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes, which is a hard hitting account of domestic violence that was a brilliant read (I wanted to give it 51/2 stars it was that good).  What Came Before was more subtle, but after reading Into The Darkest Corner two months ago, I can't help comparing my reading experiences.

If you're looking for a psychological thriller set in Australia or in Melbourne, then I highly recommend What Came Before.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

Would you like to comment?

  1. Interesting! I've read Haynes latest two novels and while they were good I didn't love them, sounds like I need to read In the Darkest Corner though.

  2. Thanks Shelleyrae, I enjoyed Into the Darkest Corner much more than Human Remains, so I definitely recommend it.


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!