⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
HOLY. FREAKING. HELL. Five stars. Boom boom boom boom boom. This was easily one of the most spine-tingling, bone-chilling books I’ve ever read. Hoover is a master at writing an evil antagonist and nailing character voice.
I hadn’t had the opportunity to read Verity until the last weekend in January when some Twitter friends and I agreed to read it together so we could talk about it after (and boy do I need to talk about this after!) This book was so dark and disturbing! I’ve been wanting to post about it for a while but wasn’t sure if it was ok to refer to the first line… but I must! And I hope it’s ok!
The first line was top-notch: I hear the crack of his skull before the spattering of blood reaches me. Like… what an opener!
For my writer followers, let’s just take a moment to dissect that line. What goes into a stellar opening line? It has to be something that immediately draws you in and doesn’t let go. It puts you straight into the action and leaves your mind spinning, in this case after just fourteen words. It has set the tone spectacularly. I hear the crack of his skull—in just those six words alone, you’re already picturing a cracked skull, aren’t you? Your mind begins to race at all the possibilities of what’s going on and it begins to draw a picture of what this man looks like. Before the spattering of blood reaches me. Mind. Blown.
What can we tell about the story just from this opening line? We know the narrating voice is in first person present. We know it’s going to be dark in terms of content. We know someone has either just died or is severely injured. We know the narrating character is standing very close to the man who’s skull has just been cracked because she gets his blood on her. For me, I picture this scene in slow-mo. Something shocking and unexpected. What do I feel? I feel shocked, disgusted (if I were in the main character’s shoes) to have the person’s blood spatter on me. And what’s happening here? I’m feeling exactly how the character would be feeling, so there’s an immediate connection to the character. The gap between the reader and the character is nil. As a reader, I absolutely want to know more: who just got his head smashed, how it happened, where it happened, why it’s happening, who’s responsible… so many questions! THIS is how you open a story!
All that… from the first fourteen words.
Verity is an example of a story within a story. The main character, Lowen, is an author—now don’t let that cliché fool you. This book was written astonishingly well. Lowen is hired as a co-writer to a hugely famous author, Verity Crawford, who is incapacitated and cannot finish out the remaining three of her six book deal. Lowen must get inside Verity’s head somehow so she can write the last three books as closely to her writing style and authorial voice as possible. To do that, she’s invited to stay at Verity’s house with her husband, Jeremy, and son, Crew, to go through her office and study her notes.
But Lowen finds a manuscript… an autobiography of sorts… and she learns much more about Verity than she ever thought she would—or wanted to. It’s a deeply personal and intimate account of big life events and the things that led up to them. And the more Lowen reads, the more she’s disturbed. And what’s more, she starts experiencing really creepy things around the house that make her question not only Verity’s sanity, but also her own. By the end of the story, I was blown away.
The twists at the end of this book are incredible!
By the time I was finished reading, my jaw was dropped, my eyes were bulging out of their sockets, and I just wanted to talk about it, but it was 2am! I now know what everyone else was talking about when they said this book is bone-chilling and dark. I highlighted so many lines that stuck out, and there’s one in particular in Verity’s biography that will stay with me (but I’m not going to tell you what it is!)
The character voice was strong, the line-level writing was superb, and I was thoroughly disquieted (and I mean that in the best possible way, because I love dark thrillers!)
The ending will have you questioning everything, and I absolutely love books that do that. Stories that make me think about them long after I’ve read the last word on the page.
I absolutely recommend this book to any fellow dark and disturbing thriller lovers. But be forewarned: when I say it’s disturbing… I mean it’s disturbing, especially as a mother. And as someone who lived with a sociopath, there are some eerily familiar feelings I experienced while reading.
Have you read Verity? What did you think? Let’s chat about it!
Colleen Hoover is a new-to-me author, and I will not hesitate to read more of her books. You can find her at www.colleenhoover.com.