The flat on Folgate Street in London is not for everyone. First, potential residents must be willing to leave almost all of their possessions behind to conform to the architect's minimalist vision. Then they must complete an unusual and probing survey. Most people fail these two requirements, but both Emma, the previous tenant, and Jane, a current applicant, make it to the final step in the process: meeting the flat's attractive and enigmatic creator Edward Monkford. In the past, Emma hoped to flee traumatic memories of a break-in that left her relationship with her boyfriend shattered. In the present, Jane is working through a loss of her own and sees the minimalism as a means of change. But the longer that she lives at Folgate Street, and the more time she spends with Edward, Jane senses a trace of something more ominous. A man leaves flowers at the doorstep, but not for her. When she uncovers evidence of a terrible accident at the flat, she begins digging into what happened to Edward's wife and son, and to the girl who lived in the flat before her. Soon Jane is swept up in a whirlwind of secrets and lies as she falls deeper into Folgate Street's possessive grip. But Jane has some secrets of her own, and her will to survive kicks in as the book hurtles toward its climactic ending.
Delaney's debut sensation is an edge-of-your-seat ride that will have reader's heads spinning with the twists and turns. The concept of a "smart home" -- so brilliantly executed in Folgate Street's depiction -- expertly plays on our fears of losing privacy and control in the one environment where we feel safe: our own home. The Girl Before is a manipulative, engrossing page turner that might appeal to fans of suspenseful bestsellers like The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl. Film rights have been optioned by Ron Howard.
Reviewed by cs, 02/17. Other reviews by cs.