In the pseudonymous Delaney’s riveting psychological thriller, first Emma Matthews and then Jane Cavendish take up residence at One Folgate Street in London. The house, a masterpiece of minimalist architecture designed by the enigmatic Edward Monkford, is let only to tenants willing to abide by his stringent rules, which reduce life to its basics. This setup appeals to people looking for order, like Emma, who’s trying to recover from a brutal attack that’s hastening the end of her relationship with a man who adores her. Later, it is Jane, grief-stricken by the stillbirth of her daughter, who seeks asylum within One Folgate’s walls. Both find themselves drawn to the house’s creator and its tragic history. Were the deaths of Edward’s family members accidental? Or were they murdered for not conforming to Edward’s obsessive need for order? Writing with precision and grace, Delaney strips away the characters’ secrets until the raw truth of each is revealed. That Emma and Jane act in often foolhardy ways hasn’t prevented rights sales in more than 30 markets and movie rights to Universal with Ron Howard directing. Agent: Caradoc King, United Artists (U.K.). (Jan.)
In the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception.
Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.
A big hit at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair, where Ballantine preempted world rights, this new work by a pseudonymous author of best-selling fiction features a fragile young woman who falls for the charismatic architect of her new home. But what happened to the previous tenant? Rights sold to over 30 countries; Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard will adapt for the big screen.
Emma and Jane have a lot in common; they even look alike. Each has been through a traumatic experience and needs to move into a new London apartment, but neither has much money. They both see a gorgeous, glamorous (but minimalist) flat on Folgate Street that is, miraculously, within budget—assuming that the renter meets the owner/architect's strict requirements: no alterations, no rugs or carpets, no pictures, no potted plants, no throw pillows, and about 200 other stipulations. The flat should be experienced as is and, in fact, is meant to transform the occupant rather than the other way around. But there's something very compelling about the apartment. When Jane moves in, she learns that Emma was the previous resident—and that she died there. Told in chapters that alternate between Emma's and Jane's stories, the book ratchets up the tension page by page as Jane can't resist looking into Emma's life and death. By the end, readers will have no idea whom to believe or how far any of the characters will go to get what they want. VERDICT Teens who gobbled up Paula Hawkins's The Girl on the Train and Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl will be clamoring for this page-turning psychological thriller, which is already being made into a movie by Ron Howard.—Sarah Flowers, formerly at Santa Clara County Public Library, CA
A high-tech town house is leased by its control-freak architect to a series of women who look just like his dead wife."Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life." "A person close to you confesses in confidence that they ran someone over while drunk. As a result they have given up drinking for good. Would you feel obliged to report it to the police?" Agree or disagree: "I try to do things well even when others are not around to notice." These questions are part of the rental application for the house at 1 Folgate St., an ultramodern property that comes with "about two hundred stipulations": no books or magazines, no pets, no rugs, no cushions, no children, nothing on the floor at any time, and so on. Compliance is monitored by sensors and cameras, by a cleaning service, and by regular inspections. The entire environment is automated, with an application called "Housekeeper" controlling everything from shower pressure to internet access. Who in their right mind would want to live here? Emma and Jane, that's who. And if they were ever in their right minds, they certainly aren't after Edward Monkford, the architect and owner, gets hold of them. The two report their experiences in alternating chapters. Emma is "the girl before" of the title: she's moving in with a boyfriend named Simon after a burglary at their old apartment. Jane is solo, attempting to rebuild her life after a stillbirth. Little more can be said without destroying what little suspense Delaney has managed. About a third of the way in, it all seems so obvious. But wait—there's a twist! With hopelessly fake characters and far too many red herrings and reversals, 1 Folgate St. is a house with no load-bearing walls, collapsing under the weight of its own materials. Prediction: the Ron Howard movie, already in the works, will be much better than the book.
Dazzling, startling, and above all cunning—a pitch-perfect novel of psychological suspense.”—Lee Child
“The Girl Before generates a fast pace. . . . [J. P.] Delaney intersperses ethics questions on stand-alone pages throughout the book. . . . The single most ingenious touch is that we’re not provided either woman’s answers.”—The New York Times
“J. P. Delaney builds the suspense.”—Vanity Fair
“Immediate guarantee: You will not be able to put this book down. . . . Fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train will realize that there’s not only more where that came from, but it’s also more thrilling.”—American Booksellers Association
“This is going to be the buzziest book of 2017. We may only be a few weeks into 2017, but we’re calling it early: This year, The Girl Before will be that book. The upcoming novel by author J. P. Delaney has all of the makings of a sexy murder mystery that is sure to hit the bestseller chart, and it already has the movie deal to prove it.”—InStyle
“Delaney has created a genuinely eerie, fascinating setting in One Folgate Street. . . . The novel’s structure, volleying back and forth as first Emma and then Jane begin to question their improbable luck, is beautifully handled. The pages fly.”—USA Today
“The house has a dark past and a landlord that’s anything but welcoming.”—New York Post, one of the must-read books of the week
“The Girl Before is deservedly anointed the ‘top girl’ of this season’s suspense novels.”—The Washington Post
“The Girl Before is a cat-and-mouse game that toys with our expectations and twists our sympathies. At times almost unbearably suspenseful, it keeps us guessing from the first page to the very last. Don’t miss it.”—Joseph Finder
“Get hooked on this hair-raiser about a woman who scores what seems like her dream home . . . until she finds out the mysterious fate of the previous tenant.”—Cosmopolitan
“One of the best thrillers you’ll read in 2017. . . . The Girl Before will appeal greatly to fans of psychological suspense.”—New York Journal of Books
“Riveting! One of the most compelling page-turners I’ve read in years. Twisty, turny, and with an ending not to be missed!”—Lisa Gardner
“Riveting . . . Writing with precision and grace, Delaney strips away the characters’ secrets until the raw truth of each is revealed.”—Publishers Weekly
“Superior psychological suspense . . . a cleverly constructed thriller.”—The Bookseller
“A masterfully crafted spellbinder . . . guaranteed to astonish.”—Booklist (starred review)
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
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1. Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
Excerpted from "The Girl Before"
Copyright © 2017 JP Delaney.
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