Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Penguin Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review.
I didn’t know anything about Paula Daly’s work before I read The Mistake I Made. I didn’t know that her novel, Keep Your Friends Close, had been shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Fiction Novel of the Year, or that she was known to write taut, page turning psychological thrillers.
If I had known these things, I probably wouldn’t have let this book sit on my bedside table for a couple of weeks before I read it – I would have jumped all over this book because those things are my favourite.
Roz is a single mother at the breaking point. Her business has just gone under, she’s working as much as she can as a physiotherapist but she can still barely make ends meet. Her ex-husband took out a bunch of loans in her name, destroying her credit and putting her in the hole to the tune of 18,000£. When the bailiffs show up and take everything, she has no idea what she’s going to do.
But it’s her sister’s birthday and so for one evening, Roz and her son George, are going to celebrate and pretend like nothing is the matter. This is the night she meets the very wealthy Scott Elias, who takes a shine to her. A few days later, Scott shows up at her office with a proposition for her: spend the night with him for 4000£.
It turns out to be too good an offer to turn down – a couple of nights with Scott and she can get back on her feet, get ahead of things for a change. But the situation spirals out of control really quickly and there’s nothing Roz can do to undo her choice.
I was into the book from page one. Roz at work, talking to patients, something about it – I was hooked. Yes this is a story about a single mom, trying to get back on her feet, trying to date again. But it’s also about relationships men have with women, about the men who view women as objects, those that see paying for sex as just another ‘business transaction.’ Roz thinks that she has all the control – after all she is the one that is selling something. But the terms are Scott’s, he has the power, she needs the money and he knows it.
This is a top notch thriller. I thought Daly masterfully pulled away the layers, leading me along inch by inch until BAM! I ended up reading the rest of this at a break-neck speed, holding my breath waiting to find out just exactly what the f*ck happened.
And I’m for sure on the hunt for more of Daly’s books to devour.