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The Girl Before
Cover of The Girl Before
The Girl Before
A Novel
In the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman's seemingly good fortune, and another woman's mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death and deception.
Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.
EMMA
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.
JANE
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home's previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman's seemingly good fortune, and another woman's mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death and deception.
Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.
EMMA
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.
JANE
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home's previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book I. Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.





    THEN: EMMA

    It's a lovely little flat, the agent says with what could almost pass for genuine enthusiasm. Close to the amenities. And there's that private bit of roof. That could become a sun terrace, subject of course to the landlord's consent.

    Nice, Simon agrees, trying not to catch my eye. I'd known the flat was no good as soon as I walked in and saw that six-foot stretch of roof below one of the windows. Si knows it too but he doesn't want to tell the agent, or at least not so soon it'll seem rude. He might even hope that if I listen to the man's stupid patter long enough I'll waver. The agent's Simon's kind of guy: sharp, brash, eager. He probably reads the magazine Simon works for. They were exchanging sports
    chat before we even got up the stairs.

    And here you have a decent-sized bedroom, the agent's saying. With ample—

    It's no good, I interrupt, cutting short the charade. It's not right for us.

    The agent raises his eyebrows. You can't be too choosy in this market, he says. This'll be gone by tonight. Five viewings today, and it's not even on our website yet.

    It's not secure enough, I say flatly. Shall we go?

    There are locks on all the windows, he points out, plus a Chubb on the door. Of course, you could install a burglar alarm, if security's a particular concern. I don't think the landlord would have any objection.

    He's talking across me now, to Simon. Particular concern. He might as well have said, Oh, is the girlfriend a bit of a drama queen?

    I'll wait outside, I say, turning to leave.

    Realizing he's blundered, the agent adds, If it's the area that's the problem, perhaps you should have a look farther west.

    We already have, Simon says. It's all out of our budget. Apart from the ones the size of a tea bag. He's trying to keep the frustration out of his voice, but the fact that he needs to riles me even more.

    There's a one-bedroom in Queen's Park, the agent says. A bit grotty, but . . .

    We looked at it, Simon says. In the end we felt it was just a bit too close to that estate. His tone makes it clear that we means "she."

    Or there's a third-floor just come on in Kilburn—

    That too. There was a drainpipe next to one of the windows.

    The agent looks puzzled.

    Someone could have climbed it, Simon explains.

    Right. Well, the rental season's only just started. Perhaps if you wait a bit.

    The agent has clearly decided we're time-wasters: He too is sidling toward the door. I go and stand outside, on the landing, so he won't come near me.

    We've already given notice on our old place, I hear Simon say. We're running out of options. He lowers his voice. Look, mate, we were burgled. Five weeks ago. Two men broke in and threatened Emma with a knife. You can see why she'd be a bit jumpy.

    Oh, the agent says. Shit. If someone did that to my girlfriend I don't know what I'd do. Look, this might be a long shot, but . . . His voice trails off.

    Yes? Simon says.

    Has anyone at the office mentioned One Folgate Street to you?

    I don't think so. Has it just come on?

    Not exactly, no.

    The agent seems unsure whether to pursue this or not.

    But it's available? Simon persists.

    Technically, yes, the agent says. And it's a fantastic property. Absolutely fantastic. In a different league from this. But the landlord's . . .to say he's particular would be putting it mildly.

    What area? Simon asks.

    Hampstead, the agent says. Well, more like Hendon. But it's...
About the Author-
  • The Girl Before is the first psychological thriller from JP DELANEY, a pseudonym for a writer who has previously written bestselling fiction under other names. It is being published in thirty-five countries. A film version is being brought to the screen by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 24, 2016
    In the pseudonymous Delaney’s riveting psychological thriller, first Emma Matthews and then Jane Cavendish take up residence at One Folgate Street in London. The house, a masterpiece of minimalist architecture designed by the enigmatic Edward Monkford, is let only to tenants willing to abide by his stringent rules, which reduce life to its basics. This setup appeals to people looking for order, like Emma, who’s trying to recover from a brutal attack that’s hastening the end of her relationship with a man who adores her. Later, it is Jane, grief-stricken by the stillbirth of her daughter, who seeks asylum within One Folgate’s walls. Both find themselves drawn to the house’s creator and its tragic history. Were the deaths of Edward’s family members accidental? Or were they murdered for not conforming to Edward’s obsessive need for order? Writing with precision and grace, Delaney strips away the characters’ secrets until the raw truth of each is revealed. That Emma and Jane act in often foolhardy ways hasn’t prevented rights sales in more than 30 markets and movie rights to Universal with Ron Howard directing. Agent: Caradoc King, United Artists (U.K.).

  • Lisa Gardner "Riveting! One of the most compelling page turners I've read in years. Twisty, turny and with an ending not to be missed!"
  • The Washington Post "The Girl Before is deservedly the anointed 'top girl' of this season's suspense novels."
  • Elle "A gripping one-sitting read."
  • The New York Times "There's a distinct creepiness to this claustrophobic story."
  • USA Today "Delaney has created a genuinely eerie, fascinating setting."
  • Daily Express (UK) "A deeply addictive literary thriller that deserves to be one of this year's biggest successes."
  • Daily Mail (UK) "The tension is built up subtly, leading to a devastating climax. A really clever thriller."
  • Joseph Finder "The Girl Before is a cat-and-mouse game that toys with our expectations and twists our sympathies. At times almost unbearably suspenseful, it keeps us guessing from the first page to the very last. Don't miss it."
  • Carla Buckley "A spectacularly clever thriller about three women on a dangerous collision course. With the skill of a master craftsman, JP Delaney draws the reader deeper and deeper into a maze of twists and perils that asks: what if the greatest risk we face isn't outside ourselves, but within our own dark souls?"
  • Nina Sadowsky "A powerfully told thriller that uses time and perspective to ratchet up the tension in every fast-paced chapter, while posing challenging moral questions for the novel's characters as well as its readers. It's hard to put this one down and it keeps you thinking long after you've turned the last page."
  • Booklist, starred review "A masterfully crafted spellbinder. . . . Guaranteed to astonish."
  • Publishers Weekly "Riveting. . . . Writing with precision and grace, Delaney strips away the characters' secrets until the raw truth of each is revealed."
  • The Bookseller "Superior psychological suspense. . . . A cleverly constructed thriller."
  • Reader's Digest "Constantly cranking up the suspense. . . . A thoroughly satisfying read."
Title Information+
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    Doubleday Canada
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