She thought she could trust him. She was wrong ...
When Zoe meets Dan she can't believe her luck. He's everything she is looking for in a man - intelligent, charming, stable, supportive.
Until they're married.
Then Zoe realises that Dan is controlling, aggressive, paranoid.
And there's no way out.
Or is there?
When Zoe discovers that she's pregnant, she realises that the only way she can keep her baby is to leave Dan.
But that's harder than you think.
He found her once before, and she knows he can find her again.
But Dan has plans of his own - plans that don't necessarily include Zoe.
But then, even the best laid plans often go awry, and you really need to be careful about who you trust . . .
Zoe lives the perfect life, in a perfect home, with the perfect husband. She wears designer clothes and drives a top-of-the range sports car. But that's everyone's impression from the outside. If you were to look closer, you might just see a padlock securing the fridge in her kitchen. You might notice Zoe getting thinner by the minute, or you might notice her wince as she gets up from the chair.
When Zoe meets Dan and he asks her out, she falls under the spell of his charm. She fails to see that beneath lurked a cruel, manipulative, controlling freak. Soon after marrying her, Dan starts to show his true nature. He starts dictating what she eats, what she wears and where she goes, and he starts beating her.
Zoe lives in fear, and when she finds out she's pregnant one day, she realises that the only way to save her baby, is to escape from Dan's clutches. But how can she do this? He has eyes and ears everywhere and she knows that wherever she goes, he will find her in no time, like the last time she tried. What can she do? How will she save the baby from a certain death at the hands of her monster of a husband?
Soon Zoe comes up with a plan, but as soon as she's about to act on it, something unexpected happens. At this point we have a huge, startling twist in the story that made me stop reading for a moment. I wanted to put my thoughts back in place and order. WOW! WTF is happening here?? Dan had also been concocting a plan of his own regarding his wife. But what happens now? Whose plan will work? Who would get their own way? Dan or Zoe? It's not that simple.
'From the frying pan into the fire' was what came to mind as soon as I've finished reading this book. From the beginning of her ordeal, my heart went out to Zoe. She was a prisoner in her own house, living in fear and suffering as she had all her basic needs taken away from her, while her husband lived the life of a king. Her mental torture at the hands of her abusive husband was difficult to read through and simply overwhelming to just contemplate. I thought that once her plan was activated she would get rid of her husband and the life she's lived and start anew. That's what I thought and hoped anyway, but hell no, the author wasn't finished with her yet. He wanted to put her through even more misery, pain and fear. What happens to Zoe? What happens to her baby? And what about Dan? Will Zoe ever get rid of him?
With twists and turns, ongoing tension, terrifying heart-pounding scenes, realistic characters (some of whom you don't want to meet in true life), this claustrophobic story kept me engrossed from start to finish. I wanted to know what happens next, I wanted to know how everything will end, but I needed to have breaks at regular intervals. The suspense was simply too much at times. I championed for Zoe throughout, but a question kept popping in my mind. Can a human being endure what Zoe goes through and remain sane, intact or even alive? I seriously doubt it.
I really enjoyed reading this book (even though I've bitten through all ten of my fingernails) and have no problem whatsoever in recommending it to all those loving chilling, adrenaline-pumping stories.
With huge thanks to Bonnier Zaffre for sending me a copy of this fantastic book to read and review.
James Carol is the bestselling author of BROKEN DOLLS, the first in a series featuring former FBI profiler Jefferson Winter. The novel was released in the UK in January 2014 to rave reviews and reached number 1 on the Amazon fiction and thriller charts. In addition James is writing a series of eBooks set during Winter's FBI days. PRESUMED GUILTY is the first of these. Under the pseudonym J.S. Carol, he has also written a number of standalones. KISS ME KILL ME is the latest.
‘BROKEN DOLLS has it all. Horrifying evil, a brilliant, conflicted profiler and cracking pace and tension. I read it in what seemed like two trembling gulps.’ (Stephen Fry)
‘Strikingly well-researched and written with a real swagger, it leaves you desperate for more.’ (The Mail)
Praise for WATCH ME:
'James Carol is a non-American who has mastered the idiom of the US thriller … Carol is no [Lee] Child clone, and carves out his own menacing canvas with real panache. (Barry Foreshaw, The Independent)
James was born in Scotland and moved to England in the early-eighties. At various times he has worked as a guitarist, sound engineer, guitar tutor, journalist, and a horse riding instructor. When he's not writing, James can usually be found in a pair of headphones writing and recording music. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two children.
For more information go to: www.james-carol.com