Could your dream home be your worst nightmare?
After what happened in London, Kirsty needs a fresh start with her family. And running a guesthouse in the Welsh mountains sounds idyllic. But then their first guest arrives. Selena is the last person Kirsty wants to see. It’s seventeen years since she tore everything apart.
Why has she chosen now to walk back into Kirsty’s life? Is Selena running from something too? Or is there an even darker reason for her visit?
Sometimes an author comes along that starts to feel like an old friend and picking up one of their books feels safe and you know you’re in good hands. Claire Douglas has become one of those authors for me over the last 2 years. I started 2017 by reading The Sisters, which I picked up on a whim in a bookshop. I was blown away so when her next release, Last Seen Alive was in the final stages before publication, I – quite pathetically and desperately – begged for an ARC because I needed to read it as soon as physically possible.
And now a year later, I’m still as excited as ever for Claire’s newest release, Do Not Disturb which again, I was lucky enough to get an ARC of, so big thank you to Claire for sending me one! (Along with a lovely message in the front!) I was eager to start this so as soon as I’d finished my previous book, I picked this up straight away. I wasn’t too bothered what it was about – Claire could write the back of a cereal box and I’d still read it but I thought I’d best sum it up anyway!
Kirsty and Adrian have moved to Wales and bought a guest house. A new start for themselves and their two daughters after a stressful few years. They know running a guest house is going to be hard… but they have no idea just how hard. When old faces with a lot of history start showing up, the house soon gets crowded with a lot of emotional energy, secrets, lies and unfinished business. But then when someone ends up dead at the bottom of the stairs one morning, secrets begin to unravel and their new business venture gets all the more sinister.
As soon as I started this book, Claire’s effortless and engaging writing style hit me straight away. I’m a fairly slow reader – particularly over the last few months it’s taken me weeks to finish just one book but I read this in a fraction of the time. Easy to read Thriller’s are my favourite because you want to keep going and progressing and know what happens next, you don’t want to be stuck on the same page for 5 minutes trying to get through wordy descriptions which are like walking through mud.
It didn’t have the shock factor that Claire’s previous books, such as Last Seen Alive had for me, personally. I’d consider this more of a “tame Thriller” (there’s a new phrase for ya!) whereas her previous books have been a bit more explosive. But in this instance, that definitely didn’t take away the enjoyment as it was still a very rich story which explored a lot of interesting and unique themes. I felt like it was a bit of a slow burner at the beginning but again, in this instance, I felt like it worked because it slowly drip-fed you the information we needed for the second half of the book.
There was quite a lot of characters – understandably, being a guest house but I think Claire did a good job of not making it too overwhelming. We’ve all read that book with four million characters and having to flick backwards and forwards to try and remember who everyone was. But I definitely didn’t get confused with the characters in this book. I liked Kirsty, the main character. I liked her morals and her values and the way she conducted herself. She’s frequently referred to as a bit of a “square”, a “goody-goody” and one to never put a foot out of line and I think Claire did a brilliant job of keeping her that way throughout the entire book, despite her having to do some things that are totally against her judgement to do. Kirsty reminded me a lot of myself, actually.
I previously mentioned that it dealt with some interesting topics, some that I’ve definitely not read about in another other book before. But Do Not Disturb also covers mental illness, depression, suicide and family rifts. I personally would have liked to hear more about Adrian’s mental health issues but I understand that that’s not really what the book is about on the grand scheme of things. I love books which deal with families, family rifts, arguments and all the confusing, f***ed up stuff that can go on between family members.
As always with Claire’s books (and this is arguably my favourite thing about her novels) we’re not really left with a clear-cut ending. There’s always a small part of the book which is left up to you, the reader, to decide for yourself what to make of it. She did it with The Sisters and Last Seen Alive and now again, with Do Not Disturb and I’m yet to find someone that does endings as well as Claire does.
Do Not Disturb is a seriously gripping book which doesn’t leave any stone un-turned. A total page-turner which focuses heavily on lies, deceit and a Mother’s love and protection – whatever that means.