Cover Image: Strange Sally Diamond

Strange Sally Diamond

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Member Reviews

What makes you who you are?

I really liked Sally and watching her find her place in her village society and deal with the trauma of her past. Intermittently .we hear about her brother Peter's life. Peter was raised by their dad, a predator, whereas Sally was left behind and ended up living with her psychologist and doctor.

This book is billed as a thriller. However, while it has some definite thriller elements here, the heart of this book is ultimately a question of nature vs nurture and defining who you are. I enjoyed reading it even if parts of it made me angry and others made me cringe with disgust at what some humans will do to others.

3.5 stars rounded up

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery/Scout Press for the opportunity to review this book ahead of publication. This does not affect my opinion regarding the book.

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This story begins in a very strange way. A neurodivergent woman named Sally Diamond is 43 years old and living in isolation with her elderly father. He tells her that when he dies, to just throw him out with the trash, a pretty standard joke. Sally misunderstands. When he dies, in a very Amelia Bedelia-esque fashion, Sally tries to incinerate his body herself. The consequences of this faux pas lead to a discovery of Sally’s traumatic past.

We are also introduced to Peter, another traumatized character with parallels to Sally. I found Peter’s story much more interesting. He is a more complex character and much harder to root for than Sally. His tragic background and inner struggle are endlessly fascinating. After the reveal of Sally’s past, her story starts to drag. She does mundane things like going to yoga, shopping, or throwing a party. Her inner observations are very entertaining at times, as she struggles with societal conventions and social norms.

Sally and Peter are two different examples of how trauma can affect a person’s life. Sally goes to therapy, tries to make friends, and makes real progress in overcoming her difficult past. Peter, on the other hand, handles his trauma much differently. Overall, this is a fascinating and disturbing read.

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Strange Sally Diamond is my favorite book of 2023 so far!!! It was so good. Such a good thriller. It walks through the damaged life of Sally Diamond and all the happenings and how she dealt with it, along with keeping you guessing. It has just the right amount of detail. I finished it in a weekend!!!
This is my first book by this author!!

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Liz Nugent is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors!
Strange Sally Diamond did not disappoint! I had a really hard time putting this book down. The book tells Sally Diamonds story from her point of view. Sally's parents let her live in a life of seclusion and for good reason! The title kind of gives it away, she is strange but once you hear her side, you'll totally understand why.
Trigger warning- abduction, sexual assault

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Ahhhh another great book by Liz! Always a treat when I’m able to read an early new book! Can’t wait for others to read this new one by her!

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Strange Sally Diamond was my first book by Liz Nugent, and I raced through it! If you are a fan of the true crime genre and are looking for a dark, well-written page-turner, you should definitely check out Nugent’s latest release.

Going in, I was expecting a drama similar to Eleanor Oliphant or The Cactus, and there ARE a lot of parallels, especially with respect to the main character, Sally Diamond, who struggles with mental illness. However, I was not expecting just how disturbing this psychological thriller would get; Strange Sally Diamond was rarely graphic, but it was unexpectedly harrowing. (Definitely read the trigger warnings if you’re concerned).

So long as you know what you’re getting into, I strongly recommend this gripping read. Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this novel. It’s out 7/18!

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Liz Nugent is one of my favorite writers. This book started off very cleverly which drew me in right from the beginning. This was a heart breaking, spine chilling thriller, heart breaking thriller that I could not put down. Liz takes very difficult topics that are disturbing but fortunately leaves out much of the graphic imagery. I highly recommend this book unlike many other thrillers the ending usually fizzles, this book followed through until the end. Thank you NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this early.

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I'll be first in line to pick up any Liz Nugent title, and this one defied even my lofty expectations. There are whole portions with a Nita Prose The Maid vibe, which I'm super into, but, because she's Liz fucking Nugent, it does it's own thing as well (and well). Especially of note was the tight tight weave of the narrative tapestry (if you will) - not a loose thread in sight.

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Happily surprised how early on in the story you learn about Sally's secret background that affects her behavior as an adult.

Reading about Sally was almost addictive. Then Part 2 introduces another character whose story was maybe more interesting to read. It was hard to put down and I think the epilogue was perfect.

Tom Diamond sounds like a terrible psychiatrist.

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4.5 stars

So Molly the Maid and Eleanor Olyphant walk into a bar, a new location, and (don't worry) a totally new set of circumstances, and out comes the titularly *Strange* Sally Diamond. It is very difficult to start this book without thinking of the aforementioned characters and how closely Sally resembles them in specific ways, but fortunately, there's a great deal of originality to be had after this initial point of recognition.

As noted in every description of this book, Sally gains notoriety in the beginning of the novel when her father dies and then she responds...accordingly? Her bizarre actions help readers (and truly all of the characters) spiral down a rabbit hole that takes us all fascinating and surprisingly dark places.

Upon Sally's father's death, Sally begins to learn some shocking truths about who she is, WHY she is this way, and who she needs to think about becoming in the future. This entire journey is gripping. Truly, I read this novel in about 24 hours, and every minute I wasn't reading during that time, I was thinking about what might be coming next. Nugent absolutely nails the pacing and the plotting, and folks who can handle the dark subject matter - and it is very dark - will find themselves equally engrossed in what comes next not only for Sally but for all of these characters.

There's a quirkiness to Sally (i.e., some of those similarities to Molly) that almost misdirects into a cozy vibe, but this is NOT cozy. It's insidious in part because of that feeling, which also highlights a central theme: that darkness is hiding right under our noses and maybe is even in us.

This isn't for every mystery fan or even every fan of the referenced characters because of the subject matter, but wow. This will be a book I'm thinking about and definitely talking about for a long time. Read the CWs and TWs, and if you can stomach it, queue this one.

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Meet Sally Diamond, a 42 years old woman who has just put her dead father's body out with the trash. She did not realize she had committed a crime and she didn't understand that this wasn't normal, she was only doing what her father asked her to do.

Sally is one of a kind, she takes everything quite literally and is very blunt to a fault having no filter. (something I particularly loved). She is socially challenged as she has always been isolated from other people after being adopted from her parents at the age of 7.

The media find out what Sally has done and she is making headlines. Messages start to turn up from a stranger hinting to a past that she doesn't remember. She has no memory of her life prior to her adoption. Revelations of a traumatic childhood start to unfold..... She receives an old teddy bear that she somehow remembers but doesn't know how.

Chapters are told from two different points of view. Sally and Peter. Peter's chapters were so intriguing and just as engaging as Sally's.

This is a dark and chilling thriller with great characterization. I particularly loved Sally Diamond!

This is my favorite book by this author, I was hooked from the start. A definite must read for those that love dark thrillers! I knew I had to read this book when I saw the unique title and the cover and it did not disappoint. 5 stars!

A big thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book!

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"There are many strange happenings, my boy. Many mysteries beyond the power of the human mind to comprehend." (Edward T. Lowe, Jr.)

Like why is it that heartbreak visits those it should never cast a shadow upon? When pathways cross like stars in the Universe only to create stone cold tragedy that can never be mended.

Liz Nugent presents a novel so seeped in the evils of humans' ways, and yet, so softened by the core of goodness that resides in the best of us. Nugent took her time with these characters and crafted them in beaming light and then carved many of them sifting through the darkest portals of souls with ill intent. Prepare yourself for some hardcore realities here.

We'll meet Sally Diamond, a forty-two year old Irish woman, who cares for her dying father. Thomas is a retired psychiatrist. Sally's mother was a physician who passed away some time ago. As we come to know Sally more and more, it appears that she is part of the autism spectrum. But it is far, far more complicated than that.

Sally, because of her shortcomings, takes the world quite literally. Her father jokes that when he passes she should take him out with the trash. Indeed, that's just what Sally does. It is this incident that draws a huge amount of attention to her: the police, the neighbors, the villagers, and the media. And now Sally will come upon the truths of her actual past. Just who is Sally Diamond and what's been lurking in her past all these years hidden by these over-protective parents?

Nugent does a fine job with her complicated main character and with her intense storyline that will take us from Ireland to New Zealand. It is rare to come across a central character as multi-layered and complex as Sally Diamond. And in its telling, Strange Sally Diamond evokes compassion and deep understanding as these episodes play out. But Nugent doesn't shy away from the causal factors as well. This novel shines a light upon unspeakable incidents that hit the headlines more and more often. How do we try to understand the perpetrator while protecting the rights of the victims? Believe me, Liz Nugent will give us plenty here to discuss, to mull over, and to make inroads into identification and prevention. Hope is the greenest of seeds.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Simon & Schuster and to the talented Liz Nugent for the opportunity.

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When Sally’s father dies, she burns him in the incinerator. He always said just to put him out with the trash. She doesn’t understand why it’s such a big deal and causes such a media circus. The circus also has to do with a horrific past that Sally does not recall.

What a story! I couldn’t put this one down. It reminded me a bit of a Tidy Ending, one of my favorites from last year. It has such an interesting backstory and the past chapters were awesome too! There were a few things about the ending I would have liked to see a bit more meat in, but overall it was such an entertaining read. I didn’t even write down a quote because I was too entertained to put it down and get my notebook.

Strange Sally Diamond comes out 7/18.

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

5 stars

I raced through Strange Sally Diamond in a day but that is not to say this was an easy read. Sally is a woman in her 40s who gets into trouble after her adoptive father dies. Sally is “socially deficient” and very awkward. She prefers to be by herself. Sally learns there is more to her early childhood than she thought and as she uncovers some awful truths, she is also learning to befriend people.

I don’t want to say much but there is second main character that is fascinating.

A very unique story that is devastating, heartbreaking and also entertaining. I highly recommend reading Strange Sally Diamond.

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Liz Nugent is one of my favorite authors and this is now one of my favorite books! I literally could not put this book down!

Sally Diamond has always been "different". She was adopted and when her dad dies she learns SO MUCH stuff about her past. Unbelievable things that start a chain of events that Sally could never have imagined.

That's it. That's my review. You have to read it for yourself because as I mentioned it is SO GOOD!!!!!


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WOW! An amazing read from start to finish. I could not put it down. I would reccommend this book to anyone. So beautifully written with an intriguing story. I immediately went to the shelves and checked out the rest of Liz Nugent's books.

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What a wonderful, dark, twisty read! Sally is a loner and has physiological issues s thing from family secrets and childhood. An inventive hold onto your sear read through the night thriller. One of the best I've read in a long time!

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Strange Sally Diamond is a dark, disturbing, thriller about a woman in her early 40's who has lived a very sheltered life due to trauma she experienced as a child. When her father dies and she attempts to cremate the body herself, people begin to wonder about the socially deficient woman. But Sally takes things quite literally and he did say to just put him out with the trash when he dies!
Peter is another character who is somewhat like Sally and their relationship becomes evident throughout the book.
There are some tough issues such as rape, kidnapping, pedophilia, but it's not graphic.
The only part I didn't like was the ending. I felt it ended abruptly and I guess I just wanted something more.

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Heart pounding thriller that left me on the edge of my seat. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. Absolutely five stars

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