Alex Craigie’s MEANS TO DECEIVE #bookreview #thriller

Ciao, amici! Today I want to share with you a review of Alex Craigie’s Means to Deceive, a psychological thriller. You can find the book’s description by clicking the link or the cover.


My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

It’s the Smallest Towns that Have the Biggest Drama

After hearing so many good things about this slow-burn psychological thriller, I couldn’t wait to read it. I was not disappointed.

Gwen Meredith is a people-pleaser. She comes by it honestly as she tries to atone for imagined sins. That, combined with her innate kindness, is what brought her back home. She’s taking care of her ailing grandmother—a woman with whom she has a strained relationship—and has consequently taken a job as a classroom assistant at the local school. It’s because of this position that trouble ensues. 

Within twenty-four hours, she manages to run afoul of her sadistic boss, his alcoholic wife, a jealous secretary, and a student’s violent father. Worse still, the police seem to think Gwen’s the problem and don’t take her concerns seriously.

The only help she gets is from a few close friends, her brother, and a sexy new neighbor. As her problems escalate and the harassment intensifies, she begins to question everyone’s loyalty. And then her very sanity.

Gwen is the epitome of an unreliable narrator. Given her tragic history and her current stresses, even she doubts the reliability of her memories and perceptions. That makes for fabulous intrigue as the reader has to unravel which clues are real and which are imagined.

Red herrings abound in this tale, and just when Gwen eliminates one suspect, it seems three more pop up.

I had my suspicions early on, but I wasn’t certain of my guess until shortly before the author revealed the answer the mystery. That’s not to say she didn’t do her due diligence; there are plenty of clues. They’re just masterfully hidden.

I love a good unreliable narrator, and I love a good red herring or two. Combine them, and you’ve got a real winner. That’s just what the author has done. If you’re a reader who enjoys an intricately plotted mystery, this is a book you won’t want to miss.


That’s it from me today. I’d love to have a discussion about this book, psychological thrillers, red herrings, and/or unreliable narrators. Leave your thoughts in the comment box below. Grazie!

70 thoughts on “Alex Craigie’s MEANS TO DECEIVE #bookreview #thriller

  1. HI Staci, I read this while I was away but didn’t manage to comment. I am keen to read this novel as I have read a number of excellent reviews for it. The only unreliable narrator I can think of off the top of my head is in The Yellow Wallpaper. That book was amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Staci, you’re a star! Thank you so very much for this. The review is superb and it’s been fantastic to have such a friendly response from others here. I may need some camomile tea to bring me down from an amazing high… 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Gwen! I didn’t realise that this was here. I’ve just been sitting in the garden with the family and now that they’ve gone I’ve checked my emails and there was one from Marcia letting me know that this wonderful review was on here. I’ll get my breath back in a minute!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. The more reviews that pop up for this book, the more intrigued I am. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Staci. I’m heading over to check it out (as if I need another book to read). 🙂 But, oh well! Congrats to Trish!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I really enjoyed Alex’s book too, Staci. As you said, she hid her clues well, and I loved that aspect. I’m also a fan of unreliable narrators, so I was thoroughly onboard with this clever tale.

    Congrats to Alex and thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

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