Cover Image: Strange Sally Diamond

Strange Sally Diamond

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Member Reviews

If there is something I have come to expect from a Liz Nugent book it’s that it will be completely twisted, highly original and very, very dark and Strange Sally Diamond is no exception.

This standalone psychological thriller isn’t published until March 2023, but pop it on your wishlist or pre-order it today if you enjoyed her previous books as much as I did.

Meet Sally Diamond, 42 years old, who lives in a small village with her father until he recently died. Viewed by the villages as “strange” and admits to being socially deficient, she’s spent her life pretending to be deaf to avoid conversation. Her father regularly told her to “put me out with the bins, when I die” so when the time came she followed his instructions and that’s when her entire life is turned upside down.

Quirky doesn’t even begin to cover Sally and if you follow my blog you will know how much I adore quirky characters. Sally is brilliant, she’s very naive and matter-of-fact and there is absolutely NO filter when she does decide to talk to people which is either cringe worthy or heart breaking.

Sally discovers after her father’s death that the reason she has no childhood memories up to the age of seven is that she had a traumatic and horrific upbringing and now she is faced with uncovering her past whilst trying to navigate a new life alone and making new friends.

I’m not going to go on much more, except this is everything you would expect from Liz Nugent. Unlikeable characters, plenty of twists, dark and disturbing plotlines, much needed humour for some light relief in the darkness and a heroine you can’t help caring about.


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This was such a great book, I was gripped from the first few pages, the main character Sally is someone who stays with you even after finishing this book that’s for sure, I mean who incenerates their father! Loved this book x

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I love Liz Nugent's work - because whilst she's fantastic at crafting compellingly dark thrillers, her true power comes in just how deep she gets into the mind of her characters, and how she allows the readers a glimpse into those peoples lives. Strange Sally Diamond is her best yet - dark and unputdownable. Another blindingly good book by Liz Nugent

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Well written with a riveting storyline and well developed characters that were all flawed but that I took to me heart anyway. This was a gripping read that kept me guessing and I was stumped right until the big twist,. The book does deal with some hard hitting issues but I think the author handled it very well I really enjoyed this read

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Liz Nugent is one of my go to authors whenever I want a guaranteed good read and she has done it again with ‘ Strange Sally Diamond’. In this novel Liz has created a wonderful character in Sally Diamond who will take you through every emotion. Another excellent read that will absorb you and hold you to the very end.

Sally Diamond cannot understand why what she did was so strange. She was only doing what her father told her to do, to put him out with the rubbish when he died.

Now Sally is the centre of attention, not only from the hungry media and worried police, but also a sinister voice from a past she has no memory of. As she begins to discover the horrors of her childhood, recluse Sally steps into the world for the first time, making new friends, finding independence, and learning that people don’t always mean what they say.

But when messages start arriving from a stranger who knows far more about her past than she knows herself, Sally’s life will be thrown into chaos once again.

I would like to thank both Netgalley and Penguin UK for supplying a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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This book gripped me from the start. Sally does not connect with people in the usual way and her behaviour, and how other people treat her, has some brilliant insights. However, the story then takes a very dark turn and I found it quite distressing to read so didn’t continue. I’m sure other readers will love the book.

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Let me say that Liz Nugent is one of my favorite authors, and when I found out the new novel was going to be deviating from form, I was a bit disappointed Surprisingly,, I loved Sally Diamond. At first I was worried that this was just going to be another autism romance, and I usually don’t love those if they’re written by Neurotypical writers. However, she was able to add the appropriate amount of twist to make it worth reading.

I’m glad I gave it a chance

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I loved this book. The twists and turns made it appear like unrealistic fiction but how it was dealt with made it so realistic.
The way that the twists were revealed was good. I kept having to turn the page.
I went in blind to what this story was about and I think that it’s experienced best that way. This is the best book using the trope of “quirky because of trauma” they I’ve read.


This could be viewed as a continuation of Emma Donagues Room. Different characters but similar premise.

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Another fantastically written page turner from Liz Nugent - from page one, I was gripped & enthralled by the character of Sally who is developed so well as we learn more about her. An excellent novel, full of twists and turns.

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Captivating. Couldn't put it down. Like her other books it's so so dark and skin crawling but it's another cracker just like Unraveling Oliver. Sally Diamond was the centre of a media storm in her childhood and again as a woman in her 40s when she tries to incinerate her dead father, taking him at his word literally when he said put me out with the bins. Sally is a strange but at times endearing character. Over the course of her book her childhood trauma is unveiled and someone is trying to make contact with her from her past. It's very twisty, it's very page turning but it's also a book you would like to put in the fridge for awhile!

Thank you netgalley for this ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

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I was just thinking it seemed like a long time since there'd been a new Liz Nugent book, when up popped Strange Sally Diamond. Cue rejoicing.

Liz has tended to specialise in horrible main characters, but that certainly doesn't apply to Sally, who is odd, but far from unlikeable. In fact, she is admirable in many ways and the reader is rooting for her throughout.

Sally has led an isolated life with her father, and she doesn't remember anything that happened to her before the age of seven. After her father dies, and Sally makes an unfortunate but - to her - perfectly sensible decision about how to dispose of his remains, her story comes to national attention and the past she can't remember is back with a vengeance. And it's about as harrowing a past as it's possible to imagine. As Sally begins to move out into the world, is it really possible for her to ever have anything approaching a normal life?

We also hear from another character, Peter, who is less likeable, although that's hardly surprising given the context in which he has grown up. Peter's story is equally horrific in a slightly different way, and while it's hard to read at times it was a good decision to include his character and perspective.

This is a story which goes to some very, very dark places, although there's enough lightness in Sally's narrative to provide a balance. The end, though, was a real downer - I kind of suspected how it was going to end, at least with Peter, but I wished it had been different.

A great read.

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I enjoyed the endearing, outrageous story of Sally Diamond, with the mystery of how her early childhood was spent.
Its written in such a way I had to empathise with Sally and her odd, scary behaviour.
Though thoroughly engaging, at first I thought it a bit far fetched as it contains extreme circumstances, but then I wondered if the author was influenced by real life news events.
In all one not to be missed. I couldn't put it down it is so sad, disturbing and heartbreaking.

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3.5 stars

I got very caught up in this book.
Always keen to pick it up and see what was happening.
With two timelines in the book, cutting from one to the other at perfect place meant I was always keen to get back to the other part of the story.
A lot happens in this book, right from the interesting beginning, which made me smile, as its a phrase I've heard my own relatives say.
Thankfully that's the only similarity to my family.
Some parts felt unbelievable, but mostly it was an entertaining read

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Gosh, I think I need some counselling myself after reading this book. The story follows the life of Sally and her adoptive parents. We start off thinking that Sally is Autistic/ neurodivergent with caring indulgent adoptive parents. However, as an orphaned adult she cannot cope and the story uncovers her traumatic start in life. We also have a parallel, equally disturbing story told by Peter. Without spoilers, some of the book is uncomfortable to read about, touching on paedophilia, kidnapping, domestic violence and rape.
Nugent's strength as a writer is the depth of her characters- Sally was so real to me and I felt for her on every page. Every blow to her, every triumph, mattered to me. I will miss her.
What an emotional, exhausting read.

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Wow! Liz Nugent has done it again. I loved this book & was deeply invested in the Sally Diamonds world. Sally is a superb character & brilliantly written. The subject matter is difficult to read at times bit it's well written and researched. One of Nugents strong points is making the reader care for deeply flawed characters . This book is amazing and should not be missed

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It seems like such a long time ago, early 2021, when I read my first Liz Nugent book. Our Little Cruelties was new in paperback, I read it, loved it and binged all of her other books.

I've read over 300 books in the meantime, and couldn't wait to read this one.

Sally Diamond is seen as strange, in her forties, she's lived an isolated life in a remote rural house. She avoids social interaction. An event following the death of her father drags her name into the limelight, with unwanted media and police attention.

Alone, she is forced to open up to others, and to look back into her past.

The blurb doesn't tell you much more, so I won't spoil the plot, but Sally is pulled into a deep and dark journey of discovery into her past and the family secrets that have been kept hidden.

Liz Nugent's character writing is exemplary, creating a strong empathy with Sally Diamond and her struggles. The plot is as deep and dark as it gets, multi-layered with 'who knew what when?' as the strands come together and the finer details get filled in.

Absolutely compelling, gripping reading that had me crying more than once. Only a few authors can write deeply involving psychological drama of this very highest quality.

I want to say this is Liz Nugent's best book yet, I think it is, then I remember my other favourites Lying In Wait and Our Little Cruelties. Safe to say this is an another extraordinary book from a hugely talented, accomplished and consistent author.

An absolute must read and sure to be in my books of the year.

Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin General UK

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Liz Nugent has ‘smashed it out of the park’ again with this her sixth novel. As with her previous novels the first sentence had me gripped and I just knew this would be a book I would read very quickly. An absolutely amazing read with strong characters, some nice and others not so. This was a difficult read at times and also a poignant one. I loved everything about this amazing book and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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Wow. This definitely got my out of my reading rut.

Strange Sally Diamond is unlike any book I’ve read before. It reads like the respective journals of the two narrators, and Sally’s quirky, rigid voice took some getting used to, but I never got bored of her internal monologue. Some of the dialogue felt a little clunky and formal, but I think this was deliberate and helped immerse the reader in Sally’s atypical style of thinking (as well as speaking). She’s a frustrating character in many ways but her inability to trust people, to understand social nuances and form connections is a product of her extremely dysfunctional past and we can’t help but emphasise with her.

The subject matter is tough and very poignant in parts. Although only described in brief, the kidnap scene really got to me- the child’s innocence and knowing what lay in store for her. So many lives destroyed by one despicable character; it was genuinely heart wrenching in some places, particularly given such atrocities do, sickeningly, actually happen in real life. There are no overly gratuitous descriptions but the sheer hell of what Denise (and later another character) endured is difficult to read.

The character of Conor was stomach churning but so well drawn and genuinely chilling. I felt so conflicted about Peter - he had many redeeming features, and of course he was never going to be ‘normal’, but his final decision is horrifying. It is also in some ways heartbreaking - he tried to live a normal life but ultimately gave in to what he seems to see as his fate. He is clearly a product of his upbringing and all he has witnessed and been exposed to.

Unusually, there is no neat and happy ending to this book, which surprised me. Although things were ‘tied up’ in a way, the devastation caused by the events in the book are felt right up to the last page. There is some stirring of hope in the epilogue, but overall Liz Nugent doesn’t shy away from a messy and in some ways depressing conclusion to the story. I suppose, given all that happens in the story, there can hardly be any realistic alternative.

I enjoyed this greatly (despite finding it tough to read!) and finished it within 24 hours which is virtually unheard of these days for me (thanks kids!). 5 stars. Beautiful, painful and confronting.

Thanks to the author, publisher and netgalley for the ARC.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it had shades of Miss Benson’s Beetle about it, it was an easy but enthralling read, really recommend it if you like something that isn’t the usual chicklit

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Liz Nugent has done it again!! Strange Sally Diamond is amazing from beginning to end, what a read.

Argh!! I don't know how to review this absosutely, mezmerisingly, amazing novel without spoiling the whole thing -bear with me!

This is a beautifully written story that flows easily. The story is -ahem- strange but everything makes sense and the characters are... believable? I mean, I suppose that's how I believe some people would act. Maybe!

I very much enjoyed Strange Sally Diamond and will be purchasing a copy once it's out -it's one of those books to add to the collection!
Disclosure: I would like to thank the publisher and author for my advanced review copy of the book. This is my honest review

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