I Know What You’ve Done by Dorothy Koomson – Book review

Looking for a fantastic, thrilling page-turner that absolutely does not let up in pace? Then you’ve found it in I Know What You’ve Done. Dorothy Koomson is a relatively new author for me and I am once again totally compelled by her storytelling. From the prologue I knew I wouldn’t stop reading until I’d found out EXACTLY what had happened to Priscilla…

Opening sentence: I know who is going to do it.

Let’s go to Acacia Villas

Set in Brighton (where Dorothy lives and where a lot of her stories take place – see The Brighton Mermaid) – Acacia Villas are in an affluent part of the city and we get to know some of its residents VERY well over the course of the story.

Priscilla is attacked in her home and as she runs for help, she has another agenda too. She hands over her diary to her neighbour Rae and begs her to find out who attacked her. She says all Rae needs to know is in the diary. You see, for reasons that become clear later, Priscilla has been taking detailed notes about her neighbours’ comings and goings for some time, so she knows far more than anyone suspects, enough for someone to want to kill her…

The chapters are narrated by a mix of people who live on the street, so we get multiple points of view to keep things fresh: Rae who has moved from South East London with her husband Clark and their two daughters, Bryony who is trapped in a marriage she hates, Lilly who lives alone but has past ties with her neighbours and Dunstan, a police officer who has a professional and personal interest in Priscilla’s case.

Is anyone straightforward or uncomplicated? Do you have to be complicated and duplicitous to live on Acacia Villas?

Post-pandemic claustrophobia

I really enjoyed the domestic noir, closed-room psychological approach to the story – all the action (aside from flashbacks) pretty much takes place within the houses on the street, so it feels very contained; secrets and intrigue are bubbling away in a pot ready to boil over. And my goodness, are there secrets.

I Know What You’ve Done is also the first novel I’ve read that weaves the pandemic into its narrative. Set in June 2021, it refers to lockdown and the worst of the pandemic as being in the past. As I was actually reading this book in June 2021, this felt like a slightly optimistic view BUT it absolutely worked in that context here as a year of relative isolation and lack of human contact was used really well to influence the actions of some of the characters.

It felt like a non-dominating but powerful way to use the pandemic in the story as it’s obviously something authors have to adapt to (or perhaps not, if they set everything pre-2020) and to be honest, the last thing I want to read at the moment is a Covid-laden story. Not quite there yet!

I throughly enjoyed I Know What You’ve Done. Faster paced than other psychological thrillers I’ve read recently, new info is constantly revealed so you have to keep up. I recommend reading this in an intense burst to get the most from this cleverly crafted, addictive story with a highly satisfying ending.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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