She was your best friend. Now she’s your deadliest enemy – and there’s nowhere to run…
When Alice receives an invitation from Karen, her charismatic University friend, to stay in a remote cottage in Scotland, she can’t wait to rekindle their lost friendship. But two more former students arrive – never friends of Alice’s – and as the atmosphere chills, Karen isn’t the warm-hearted soulmate Alice remembers. Barely is the reunion underway before someone is dead and the fragile gathering is pushed to breaking point.
As the snow cuts them off from civilisation and accusations fly, Alice finds herself a pawn, sinking deeper into a deadly game she can’t escape.
Alice and Karen were best friends at Uni. Shy and insecure Alice was enthralled by the outgoing, bubbly personality of Karen. However, the pair lost touch once they left University which is why it is such a shock when Alice receives an invitation from Karen out of the blue, asking her to stay in a remote cottage in Scotland. Still as dazzled as ever by Karen and eager to recreate the friendship they shared as teenagers, Alice agrees to join Karen and is looking forward to catching up with her former best friend – all whilst in a lovely setting in a remote yet gorgeous part of Scotland. What could be better?
However it’s not long after Alice arrives that things seem to turn odd. The cottage is run-down, freezing and much more remote than Alice ever imagined. Then the surprises keep on coming when two friends of Karen’s from Uni, Jodie and Mark, join the pair for their break. Alice never liked Jodie or Mark and is disappointed to find out that the holiday isn’t going to be just the two of them along with Karen’s baby daughter, who Alice was looking forward to bonding with.
Then there’s the small matter of Karen herself. She seems a million miles away from the open, friendly and caring woman that Alice once knew. She seems secretive and snappy and it’s clear that something is not quite right…
As heavy snow storms prevail, it’s not long before disaster strikes for Alice and Karen. What was Karen’s real reason for inviting Alice? Is she who she seems? Why did she invite Mark and Jodie? What exactly has she dragged Alice into?
It’s not long before Alice’s idyllic reunion with her best friend soon becomes the stuff of nightmares…
As soon as I read the synopsis for No Longer Safe I just knew that I HAD to read it. The more psychological thrillers I read, the more I become a fan of the genre. I love the feeling of not quite knowing who you can trust, and you can’t beat a novel that keeps you guessing right up until the very end. This was No Longer Safe all over…It had me well and truly engrossed and I simply could not put it down.
It’s one of those books that carries such an uneasy feeling about it, even right from the start. As soon as Alice receives the invitation from Karen inviting her to a remote Scottish cottage out of the blue you immediately suspect that something is up and I found myself screaming ‘NO! Don’t go!’. As far as I was concerned it was only a matter of time before creepy things started to happen and I certainly didn’t have to wait very long…
The characterization in this novel was superb. Alice is a really fascinating character – someone who was maybe much weaker in her past but has worked hard to become more confident and a stronger person. The dynamics to her relationship with Karen were brilliant and added so much depth to the story. I loved how Karen expected Alice to be one way and was dismayed to find that she had changed from the meek and mild girl she knew at Uni. As the novel is mainly told from Alice’s perspective you will find yourself bonding with her and also fearing for her. I felt her panic and I felt her guilt. I had no trouble imagining that I was in Alice’s shoes and I was absolutely terrified.
As for Karen I was DESPERATE to suss her out. What was her plan? My main question was WHY. Why did she put this whole plan into action in the first place? The more that is revealed about her, the more intrigued I became, especially when I realised she had been lying about certain things.
No Longer Safe really got inside my mind and refused to shift until I’d read the very last page. It was breath-takingly good and one of the best thrillers I think I have ever read. I love A.J. Waines style of writing…She is very clever not to give too much away and manages to keep you guessing right up until that vital moment.
She also sets the scene perfectly. You can’t get much creepier than a remote cottage in Scotland, trapped in by snow drifts with no phone signal and a bunch of people who you can’t really trust. Oh – not forgetting a dead body. Throw that into the mix and GAH. I have goosebumps just thinking about it.
As soon as I have finished writing this review I am heading over to Amazon and getting hold of A.J. Waines’ other novels because if they are anything like No Longer Safe then I need to read them as fast as is humanly possible. I think I’m going to start with Girl on a Train (no, not THE Girl on the Train… but I’m betting Waines’ novel is every bit as good as the Paula Hawkins classic…)
No Longer Safe really is a spectacular read. It’s a terrifying page-turner that will keep you awake until the early hours and chill you to the bone. Tense, dark and terrifying this is a must read for thriller-fans.
A huge thank you to A.J. Waines for sending me a copy of No Longer Safe to read and review and for having me on board the official blog tour.
AJ Waines has sold over 100,000 books worldwide and topped the UK and Australian Kindle Charts in 2015 with her number one bestseller, Girl on a Train. Following fifteen years as a psychotherapist, she is now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in France, Germany (Penguin Random House) and USA (audiobooks).
In 2015, she was featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and was ranked in the Top 20 UK authors on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). She lives in Southampton, UK, with her husband.