Everything you have read is a lie. I can’t imagine how I would react if my life, my secrets suddenly ended up in a book by someone else. This is the genius premise of Renee Knight’s Disclaimer. When images and hints started floating around on twitter I was desperate to get my hands on a copy. (Thankfully) I did and I found it to be an intellectual, creepy as f***, brilliantly written book.
Documentary maker Catherine starts reading about her own life in a book she finds on her bedside table. She doesn’t remember how it got there but she picks it up and is horrified that this book is about a secret she has kept hidden for a very, very long time.
I love psychological thrillers and with Disclaimer Renee Knight has taken the genre a step further with this sophisticated, absorbing read. The book shifts from chapters narrated by Catherine to chapters narrated by the author of the book Stephen Bridgestoke (motives remain unclear for a good long time and I was theorising madly as I read). Both of them are unreliable narrators at one point or the other and the suspense just keeps ratcheting up as you get closer and closer to the reveal. I loved this aspect of the book since I love trying to work out what happened and why it happened before all the secrets are told. Of course I am rarely right but with Disclaimer I was close about somethings (go me).
But more than Catherine’s secret, Disclaimer is about Catherine’s family. She and husband Robert have the perfect life, if you are a stranger looking in. Their son hasn’t become the person they thought he would and his relationship with Catherine shifts and changes throughout the course of Disclaimer. Then there is also Catherine’s mother whose memory is fading yet accepts Catherine for who she is – there was one scene in the book when she tells her mother everything which made me tear up a little. In contrast you have the Stephen’s family – those relationships make Catherine’s look like a walk in the park.
I never stopped liking Catherine as a character and all credit has to go to Renee for this. Her actions and attitudes aren’t always likeable but it never stopped me liking her. When the truth finally comes out it broke my heart and physically made me recoil in horror, even though I had guessed parts of it.
Disclaimer is a really clever, original book, one which hooked me from the very beginning. As soon as I finished it, I gave the book to my mum. She may have had work the next day but she stayed up all night to finish it. It’s that good and I urge you all to read it.
Disclaimer by Renne Knight is out now and available in all good and evil retails, and of course your local library. It is published by Doubleday.