Adult book reviews, Book Reviews

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward – ARC Review


My Rating ~ Four stars

4-gold-stars copy

RELEASED: 12 March 2019

Format: Paperback

Pages: 368

RRP:  AU$29.99


Things that make me scared: When Charlie cries. Hospitals and lakes. When Ian drinks vodka in the basement. ISIS. When Ian gets angry. . . . That something is really, really wrong with me.

Maddie and Ian’s romance began with a chance encounter at a party overseas; he was serving in the British army and she was a travel writer visiting her best friend, Jo. Now almost two decades later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in middle America. But when a camping accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending writing therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian’s PTSD, her concerns for the safety of their young son, Charlie, and the couple’s tangled and tumultuous past with Jo.

From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, 16 years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 9-1-1 call summons the police to the scene of a shocking crime.

But what in this beautiful home has gone so terribly bad?




Many thanks to Hachette Australia for providing me with a copy of Beautiful Bad in exchange for an honest review.

Beautiful Bad is a psychological thriller that was both horrifying and immeasurably sad.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy reading it, because I definitely did!  The story opens with a frantic 911 call and a police officer entering the house to find a bloody scene.  The story then jumps back and forward through time, from the days when the main character, Maddie, first met her husband through her best friend, and back to the day of the call.  The story is written from several points of view – between Maddie and her husband, Ian, where inconsistencies and differing takes on the same situations start to crop up and from the first responder on the scene – Diane.

Ian is a bodyguard in multiple war torn countries, including Iraq, and the story includes some of the horrific things he witnessed, that contributed to the PTSD he is suffering.  Maddie has been attending therapy, while Ian is out of the country, to deal with her anxiety.  Her therapist believes the anxiety attacks stem from an accident on a camping trip, that Maddie says she can’t remember the surrounding circumstances of.  It raises questions about just what is going on in Maddie and Ian’s relationship and whether Maddie is hiding something about it.  Maddie and Ian’s son, Charlie, made the story even sadder for me.  No child should have to deal with their parents past and present demons in the way he had to.

I found this, if not an *enjoyable* read, because of the feelings of sadness it left me with, an interesting and psychologically haunting read.  If you’re a fan of domestic psychological mysteries, I’d recommend giving this one a try!






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