The Girl Before

In a nutshell, The Girl Before is a damn good thriller and it comes at no surprise it’s to take the journey to the big screen under the guidance of Ron Howard in the not so distant future.

Written by JP Delaney, The Girl Before intertwines the perspectives of Jane Cavendish in the present and Emma Matthews a few years earlier as the pair move into One Folgate Street. The house has been designed by maverick perfectionist Edward Monkford who only lets the house out to tenants should they agree to a veritable scribe of rules forcing them to live as freely and as perfectly as possible.

Emma is keen to move in after a robbery which has left her traumatised, along with reluctant boyfriend Simon she makes it through the gruelling application process and is approved by Monkford. In the present, Jane seeks to move on after a stillbirth and like Emma, she also earns the approval of Monkford. However, it transpires that Emma died mysteriously in the past and in the present, Jane begins to fear she’ll suffer the same fate…

The Girl Before ticks off the different thriller boxes as it moves through its intriguing premise.

Sex. Murder. Psychological obsession. Secrets. Lies. Twists. The Girl Before ticks off the different thriller boxes as it moves through its intriguing premise. It’s backed by a roster of well written characters from the tenacious Jane, to the compelling Edward, to the fascinatingly complex Emma – who I’d probably say that I found the most interesting of all the characters.

Delaney’s segments on Emma and Jane are short and snappy, allowing you to propel yourself through the story. It doesn’t waste any time in getting itself going. There were times I perhaps felt greater time could have been spent on each, allowing certain scenes to breathe a little more and particularly towards the end I felt the short segments were to the detriment of the chilling final twist. However, that’s perhaps harsh on the book as it’s only keeping consistent in the style that it’s already set out.

Speaking of which, the twists. Wow. I usually consider myself quite good when it comes to seeing where something is going. However, The Girl Before really caught me off guard several times. The twists push the story forwards and certainly aren’t mindlessly conceived for dramatic effect, yet they properly pack a punch all the same.

…an intoxicating, terrific read…

Overall, The Girl Before is an intoxicating, terrific read which I’ve devoured over the course of a week’s worth of bus journeys and one lunch break in Costa Coffee while enjoying a particularly good toastie. If you like a good thriller, then this book is most definitely for you.

After the nonsensical decision to move the movie adaptation of The Girl on the Train to the States, I really hope The Girl Before is kept in the UK. If they get it right, we’ll have a hell of a film on our hands too.


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