Cover Image: The Perfect Betrayal

The Perfect Betrayal

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Member Reviews

If you’re feeling the psychological thriller genre is flooded and that all books sound the same, grab your copy of The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North. The author will prove you that there is still a lot of ground to cover!

Psychological thrillers are my drug. Others enjoy coffee, some can’t go through a day without a cigarette, all of us need air. I can’t imagine my life without novels making me check twice if the door is really locked or hide a little more under the cover before holding my breath while a character is going through some kind of hell. The problem with such addictions is that you devour all books available. Sooner or later, you recognize patterns, you can see twists coming, and you become pickier, more difficult to surprise. That’s when you need a hurricane to clean up the air and make room for some spicy, astounding action!

The Perfect Betrayal is built around grief. Tess is trying to cope with the death of her husband and makes her son Jaimie the center of her world. But the weight of their loss wraps Tess in a tight fog, spurring her to cut herself from family and old friends. The author beautifully captures the impact of grief and loss on a family.

Page one, Tess is in a hospital. The day before was her son’s birthday. The reader and main character have no idea where Jaimie is. I was confused and intrigued. Right that moment, I knew I was dealing with a strong plot. Then I noticed the timeline brought me back to weeks before Jaimie’s birthday, with Tess going through the motions of learning how to be a widow and a single mom. I immediately felt for her and I was more than happy when a grief counselor appeared in the picture. Shelley, with a heavy background herself, wants to help. Quickly, she becomes irreplaceable and Tess relies on her more and more as days go by. Shelley becomes a wall between Tess and the rest of the world. Now, as the ever-suspicious reader I am, I started to wonder if this relationship was really healthy. Turning your back on your family to entrust your heart, soul, and thoughts to a woman you turned out at your door one day sounds a bit reckless! How come Shelley is always at the right place at the right time? Re-reading my review, it is clear I am becoming more paranoid with each good psychological thriller I read!!!

Back to the point! As chapters bring us closer and closer to the day Tess found herself in the hospital room, a threatening cloud hangs over her and her son. Something is wrong. What happened?? Where is her son? Why is she in hospital? Like small drops slowly falling on your window panes, the author scatters hints and brings shadow to the picture. One of those shadows is Ian, Tess’ late husband’s brother. Ian comes with news… Mark owned him money. And suddenly, Tess helplessly witnesses her world grow even darker. Was her husband hiding secrets from her? As bad news never comes alone, creepy and unsettling things begin to happen, sending Tess’s world spinning. Anonymous calls, memory loss. Is Tess losing grip on reality? If you love unreliable character, welcome Tess to your world! I painted everything I was told through her eyes with a light layer of gray, not knowing what to trust, sensing the tiniest piece of information was vital, feeling I was missing something.

Truth is, I was actually missing something. Something big. Something I was not expecting. This is the moment I unleash the ‘amazing twist’ / ‘OMG moment’ / ‘magnificent and explosive climax’ propaganda. All the above applies. Yet, they are not strong enough to convey how unexpected and superbly refreshing the ending was! Imagine spending hours with a character, getting closer to her, rooting for her, grieving with her, getting the chilling vibes, fearing for her life, only to find yourself alone and naked at the end of the journey! I remember thinking ‘What on earth just happened????’ I considered going back all the way to the start to understand why I hadn’t seen the big finale coming. But Lauren North is a master storyteller and there is no point in dissecting the novel, you won’t find any flaw.

Flawless indeed. Flawless and taut, The Perfect Betrayal had the seasoned reader I am at a complete loss and I just loved it! This novel has the power to take you by surprise and delivers an ingenious, bitter, and stunning ending.

Do yourself a favor, buy what is for me one of the intelligent and cracking psychological thrillers of the moment!
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This book was brill! I was hooked from the start, I loved the storyline and fell for the characters. Tess is a grieving wife who lost her husband in a tragic accident, she suffers with dealing with the grief and looking after her 7 year old son. 
Jamie is a little boy lost without his Dad and confused by his Mum's erratic behaviour and takes comfort in Shelley when she arrives in their life.
Shelley is a grief counsellor that ends up becoming a significant part of the grieving family for reasons of her own. 
Her and Ian, Tess' brother-in-law are entangled in this storyline from start to finish. 
It's exciting, nerve wracking and addictive and I finished it in about 3 and a half hours! I just couldn't put it down. I will definitely be picking up books by Lauren North in the future :)
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Wow what a twist at the end, This was a very enjoyable book a nice easy read. I started to get to the end and still hadn't worked out the twist. I would recommend this book.
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I have had so much on in real life as I started this book that I’ve been eager to get back to it. I hadn’t been able to read the second part of the book for 2 weeks. Unheard of by me, but there you go.

Tess has a son Jamie, both are grieving the loss of her husband, Jamie’s dad.

This starts off with Tess waking in ICU, she has stab wounds. Of course the Police are there asking questions but......Jamie isn’t there, where is he?

There’s a lot going on and Tess mother things she needs counselling , grief counselling. 
We are introduced to Shelley. Shelley seems very helpful, too helpful. 

Ian is her late husbands brother who comes to tell Tess he wants his money back that her husband borrowed. She knows nothing about this and is astounded at the amount. And how is she going to pay this?

Shelley becomes her kind of go between and Tess comes across Shelley whispering to Ian many a time.
So Tess starts to write things down. 
Is she going slightly mad with grief?

There’s a person who keeps ringing her, following her.
Should she feel afraid?


This was bloody amazing.
The ending was jaw droppingly amazing, I didn’t know where this was going.
I reeled from this stunning climax.
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To anyone who reads this book my first piece of advice is "bear with it".  I spent the first half of the book feeling angry and frustrated at the lead characters (Tess) indulgence in her own grief.  Having lost her husband in a plane crash she seemed totally unable to pull herself together to look after her 7 year old son Jamie properly.  I could sympathise with her loss but I felt the boy must have been suffering too and any mother would want to be there for him.  However, as the story progresses it becomes clear that there is more to her behaviour than just being grief stricken.  The book then raises many questions , is Shelley, the grief counsellor who befriends Tess, really trying to help or is she trying to replace her own dead son with Jamie?  Is Ian, Tess's brother in law, also trying to help or coerce her?

The end of the book explains it all but the last chapter leaves the reader still shocked and feeling sad.
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This one was painful to read because I knew what was coming. I enjoyed the story but found it difficult to settle into the book. Don’t read this if you’ve had any recent losses!
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After the sudden death of her husband, Tess is drowning in grief. All she has left is her son, Jamie, and she’ll do anything to protect him – but she’s struggling to cope.

When grief counsellor Shelley knocks on their door, everything changes. Shelley is understanding and kind and promises she can help Tess through the hardest time of her life.

But when a string of unsettling events happens and questions arise over her husband’s death, Tess starts to suspect that Shelley may have an ulterior motive. Tess knows she must do everything she can to keep Jamie safe – but she’s at her most vulnerable, and that’s a dangerous place to be . . .

I love an unreliable narrator, and honestly I wasn’t certain who it was.  There is so much I’d like to say about this book, but I can’t say too much without giving spoilers.  This book certainly packs a punch: I was so surprised at the ending!  Loved this book 5*
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A heart-rending story with a clever twist, which I didn't guess until relatively late on in the book.
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Tess is struggling to look after her son, Jamie, after the death of her husband. She has been stabbed and Jamie is missing. Is it her brother in law, Ian, or her grief counsellor, Shelley, that has taken him? 

I struggled to get into this and then at about 70% I got really engrossed in it. I did guess the ending but this didn’t spoil it for me at all. Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for this arc in exchange for my honest review.
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What a page turner!!!!! It's maybe not for everyone but it was right up my street. Brilliant story with great characters.
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The Perfect Betrayal (the meaning of the title is worth thinking about) was an enjoyable and cleverly constructed read. The basic premise has certainly been done before (though to draw specific comparisons would be far too spoilery) but it is very well executed here and I’ll admit I didn’t see the end coming. That said, I wasn’t as fully engaged in and riveted by the story as many reviewers seem to have been. Up until the “twist”, it actually felt like a fairly standard domestic psychological “who can she trust?” style thriller... written in the (now apparently compulsory) first person present tense.

Readable and, as I said, well executed, but I can’t honestly say it blew me away, though clearly it has done so for many other readers.
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Not sure about the title, and I can’t discuss it without giving spoilers. I was completely horrified by the ending, which left me sad and upset. The book itself is well written, the characters are , in the main, well drawn and in the end heartbreaking.   You get quite attached to Tess, Jamie and Mark over the course of the book and I really liked the link to a real life tragedy. 

This won’t be for everyone but I imagine most people will enjoy it
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I did find this book slightly frustrating but I did also really enjoy it!!! It jumped back and forth until it concludes in a dramatic fashion!  Twists and turns and a gripping read! Thanks
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This is a beautiful book and I'm surprised that this is a debut, so can't really wait to read more from this brilliant author.

Tess is struggling to cope with her grief over the untimely death of her husband in a plane crash. Enters grief counselor Shelley who offers to help Tess with her grief and to look after her son as well.
All seems good until Tess started to notice suspicious stuff and Shelley seems to have ulterior motives as she seems to be digging a wedge between Tess and her son. To make matters worse Tess's brother-in law is acting weird and he seems to conspiring with Shelley against Tess.

What follows is an engaging and suspenseful ride full of twists and turns, and what an ending was that.
Thanks Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for a chance to review this book in exchange for an honest opinion.
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Wow! This book had me guessing all the way through, then when the penny finally dropped it was an outstanding twist.   Excellently written and perfectly executed.  Highly recommended.
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Tess's husband has been killed in a plane crash; Shelley is a grief counsellor who offers Tess help at the most difficult time. Her brother in law wants money, and for her to sort out her will. She feels someone is watching and following her. There were two seats booked on the plane, who was the second seat for. And she has to protect her son, the last remaining memory of her husband. But things belonging to her son go missing, Shelley seems to be spending time with her son and taking him away from her. This is a brilliant book with plenty of twists and turns. Would really recommend
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The Perfect Betrayal is Lauren’s debut novel which literally blew my mind. It is an addictive, thrilling, emotional and unbelievably suspenseful read that I could have read in a single sitting had I had the time.

The plot is filled with secrets, hidden agenda’s and hostility as well as love, loyalty, grief and heartbreak, and I found myself wanting to pick it up at any given opportunity.

Protagonist Tess holds such a huge place in my heart. How would you ever cope having lost your husband in such horrific circumstances? She hear’s her husband Mark’s voice and begins to share conversations with him daily, and the only thing getting her through is their son Jamie. Without Jamie, Tess believes she wouldn’t have anything to live for.

The timeline the book follows is a lead up to Jamie’s birthday. We flip back and forth between the present day and the days preceding and we are made aware that something bad has happened. Tess is giving some kind of statement to a person of importance (a police officer or a doctor) and she cant understand why they wont listen to what she believes to be true. Does she remember things incorrectly? has she forgotten? Are people lying to her? That’s what we need to find out.

We meet Ian (Mark’s bother) and Shelley (Tess’ grief counsellor) at the start of the book, and it slowly becomes apparent that Tess can not trust them. Ian tell Tess that Mark borrowed a large amount of money and he now needs it back, and at the same time he offers to help her with Mark’s will. Then there’s Shelley, who Ian seems to know and who keeps taking far too much interest in Jamie. Shelley has suffered her own grief after loosing her son so is she out to try and steal Jamie from Tess? Jamie takes a liking to Shelley and begins wanting her around more than his own mum, which makes Tess even more anxious.

Throughout the book, I let my mind wonder and in usual Ali style, I came up with a couple of theories, but I didn’t guess the ending until the very last minute and it exploded onto the pages in front of me. I honestly think my mouth fell open and my emotions were a mess.

An aspect I really enjoyed was how Lauren closed things out. Once all the lose ends were tired and us readers knew the outcome, Lauren dealt with the situation in such a way that just felt so normal and realistic. Not everything is perfect in life and I think Lauren managed to create such a feasible ending.

5 massive stars to Lauren for a read I fully enjoyed and will not forget. I will be recommending this one for a while!
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I really enjoyed the book. I had no idea how this would end but the portrayal of grief and moving on was very well written.
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Well, I'll be...!!
Engaging read, thought I knew it all along, and was going to abandon it...I didn't bail out, and I was so wrong (not much change there then, haha!)
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Tess is struggling to come to terms with the untimely death of her husband Mark in a plane crash. Meanwhile, her 7 year old son Jamie, (not unnaturally) misses his daddy terribly, but neither of them know how to express their grief without anger - both of them drowning in their loss.

Grief counsellor Shelley Lange is enlisted to help Tess through those tough first few months, but she soon becomes more than a counsellor when Tess begins to look on her as a friend, and they start to spend more and more time together, with Shelley cooking for the three of them when Tess is unable to do even the most menial of household chores - such is the depth of her grief. Although Tess is still in a very dark place, she begins to look forward to Shelley’s visits , and in addition, Jamie enjoys her company too, and for someone as shy as he is with strangers, that’s a really big deal.

There comes a time though when Tess starts to become suspicious of Shelley’s motives, she can see that Shelley and Jamie are becoming a bit too close, to the point where Jamie obviously prefers Shelley’s company to his mum’s. Shelley lost her son a few years ago and Tess believes she’s forming an attachment to Jamie that borders on obsession, trying somehow to replace her loss. Tess’s brother-in-law Ian starts calling at the house too, and as Tess and he have never got on, she imagines that Ian and Shelley are somehow involved in plotting against her, and she fears that the plot involves Jamie. She’s seen them interacting in an overly familiar way when they thought she wasn’t watching, and she knows they were discussing her. One thing’s for sure, Tess is in for some frightening times ahead!

The author’s portrayal of grief is just heart wrenching - the plot is full of suspense, clever and beautifully written, and it had me gripped.

The thing that drew me to this novel initially, was the fact that other reviewers were saying what an amazing climax there was - something they didn’t see coming - so right from the start, (because I wasn’t sure which way this one was heading) I was continually second guessing. The narrative encouraged me to view various characters with suspicion and I imagined different scenarios being played out that might explain why it had such an impact on other reviewers - but I (in company with others) never saw that twist coming!
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