Review By Gabrielle

Liz Nugent has created a unique and addictive mystery with Strange Sally Diamond.

Favourite Quote:

She told me that I wasn’t to feel sorry or sad. I knew by then that trying to burn Dad’s body was the wrong thing to do. Everyone had told me so. When I am told something once clearly, without jokes or ambiguity, I understand completely. You’d think it was something I’d been doing for years, casually burning bodies, the way they went on about it. It was one body, and he had told me to do it, more or less.”

Goodreads Synopsis: 

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 am so glad I picked up this book. It is by far one of my favourite reads of this year. This is no typical thriller folks. Sure, there are plenty of twists and turns and you will definitely find yourself totally hooked and unable to put the book down, but in some ways this book reads more like regular fiction in the sense that we spend a lot of time following Sally’s journey to a better life.

Sally Diamond is probably one of the most interesting and compelling heroines I’ve ever read. I loved her. She’s intense and complicated. After her father dies, she has to figure out what to do with herself. She’s lived just outside of town and been reclusive with her dad since she left high school. Now in her 40’s, she’s socially awkward and doesn’t like people much. When her father dies and she burns her dad’s body in the incinerator out back like her dad told her to, she’s thrust into the spotlight. With the help of a family friend, she starts to create a life for herself. I loved watching Sally change and grow over the course of the book.

This is a hard review to write about without giving anything away. Suffice it to say the mystery is chilling and suitably horrifying. Sally has a very traumatic past that comes back to haunt her. Although she has no memory of it, she does come to learn what happened to her that contributed to who she is today. I will say her past is very dark. If you find child abuse too disturbing, stear clear of this book. 

In addition to Sally, we get to know another character as well. There are chapters written from their perspective. As a reader, you get a fairly clear understanding pretty early on who the “bad guy” is but you are still trying to figure out the puzzle of how everything will come together. Liz gives us well-paced clues and twists that will keep your attention and have you furiously turning the pages to find out what happens next.

For character driven thriller lovers, Strange Sally Diamond is a must-read.

Thank you, Simon & Schuster for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.