Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward #NetGalley #BookReview @_Annie_Ward @QuercusBooks


Author: Annie Ward

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Format: Hardcover 400 pages

Release Date:  21 March 2019

Publisher: Quercus Books

I would like to thank the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read this book via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Maddie and Ian’s romance began when he was serving in the British Army and she was a travel writer visiting her best friend Jo in Europe. Now sixteen years later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in Middle America.

But when an accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian’s PTSD; her concerns for the safety of their young son Charlie; and the couple’s tangled and tumultuous past with Jo.

From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, the years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 911 call summons the police to the scene of shocking crime.

But what in this beautiful home has gone so terribly bad?

My Thoughts

We start out on ‘the day of the killing’ but it’s very unclear who’s been killed and under what circumstances. As the story unfolds we begin to see how Maddie came to live abroad in war torn countries and flit back and forth across European borders meeting her best friend Jo. We also go back in time and read how Maddy first met Ian, her now husband.   

The book is told primarily from Maddie’s point of view, however, later in the book there’s also insight from Ian and the lead police officer working the case. The story does jump around a bit timeline wise, there are parts told in the present, some chapters set in the weeks leading up to ‘the day of the killing, but for the most part the story takes you back to where it all began some years in the past. 

Sometimes when books jump around in timelines like this it can be hard to keep track of what’s going on, however, that’s not the case with this book. As there are only a few key players I rather enjoyed stepping back in time to see how they all met each other and how their lives were connected. 

This is one of those books that simmers with tension because you know straight from the opening chapters that whatever occurs has led to a murder. It was really gripping stuff and whilst I was reading I was constantly trying to work out what was going to happen to lead to ‘the day of the killing’. 

My only criticism is I felt there were a few sections that I personally would have liked to explore more as a reader. I can’t really say too much as I don’t want to give any spoilers but there were a few questions left for me once I finished reading. However, there is a good twist at the end which I hadn’t seen coming and it finished in a way that all good psychological thrillers do leaving a tingle down my neck! 

About the Author

Annie received a BA in English Lit with an emphasis in Creative Writing from UCLA and an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute. While studying at AFI, she sold her first short screenplay to MTV/ BFCS Productions. Starring Adam Scott, STRANGE HABIT became a Grand Jury Award Winner at the Aspen Film Festival and a Sundance Festival Official Selection.

After film school, Annie moved to Eastern Europe to work for Fodor Travel Guides, covering regions of Spain and Bulgaria. She remained in Bulgaria for five years spanning a civilian uprising and government overthrow. The novel THE MAKING OF JUNE, which Annie wrote with the Bulgarian revolution and Balkan crisis as its backdrop was sold to Penguin Putnam and published to critical acclaim in 2002.

During Annie’s five years in the Balkans she received a Fulbright Scholarship, taught at the University of Sofia, and script doctored eight screenplays for Nu-Image, an Israeli/American film company that produced a number of projects in Bulgaria for the SyFy Channel. She was later the recipient of an Escape to Create artist residency.

She lives in Kansas City, Kansas with her family.

For more reviews and updates you can follow me on Twitter @BooksBucks

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