Today it is my great pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for Do No Harm, the latest novel from author LV Hay. My thanks to Orenda Books for the advance copy for review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to join in. Here is what the book is all about.
About the Book
Till death do us part…
After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…
Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…
Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.
Well now. How do I even begin to review this book? I really enjoyed Lucy V Hay’s last book, The Other Twin. The relationships in it were complicated and twisted and nothing was ever quite as it seemed to be. Character portrayal was convincing and the atmosphere, at times, intense. Could she possibly replicate that in this book or even go one better?
The answer? Yes. Yes she could. If anything, I think I liked this book even more but it is hard to say exactly why without giving too much away.
This is a book about family, both immediate and extended, and the lengths people will go to in order to preserve their own. Lily is a woman about to embark on what she hopes is her second chance at happiness, a new marriage and a new life, putting behind her the obsessive relationship she once had. But her ex husband, Maxwell, has other ideas and from the very opening chapter you can tell that this is going to be a book which is riddled with tension and anxiety, in which mind games will dominate and in which you find yourself questioning who, if anyone, you can trust.
I love the way in which the author has built up characters in this book. You have the seemingly independent Lily and her new husband Sebastian. They seem a rock solid couple, Sebastian offering Lily the grounding and understanding that she needs. Their lives, however simple living in a maisonette in the heart of town, seem complete and with Lily’s young son they could ask for nothing more. I liked them both almost immediately although there is something about Sebastian which made me wish he was just that little bit more assertive. If you read the book you will understand why.
Contrasting against these two we have Lily’s ex, Maxwell, and Sebastian’s mother, Fran, who are chalk and cheese but still two people who dominate Lily’s life. Maxwell is slick, slimy almost, the archetypal charismatic and domineering success story who certainly knows how to make an impression. There are so many times he made my skin crawl and you would wonder how Lily fell for him in the first place. On the other hand there is Fran, fragile and yet still controlling in her own way. Her relationship with Sebastian is strong and leads to more than a few coarse words between the happy couple.
This is definitely domestic noir at its best. From the beginning you can sense the dread begin to build, can tell that Lily’s new found happiness will not last. It wouldn’t be much of a story otherwise. But despite foreseeing a few of the bends in the road, I didn’t expect the multitude of twists and turns that I encountered. So many little things which start to happen, puncturing the relationship like a sharp blade piercing skin. And then slowly the blade is turned, opening the wound further with each little twist in a bid to ensure that it cannot heal.
But who was responsible? Well Lucy V Hay has done such a good job of concealing the person behind it all that I was finding my thoughts on who it was changing every few chapters. There are many reasonable suspects, many possibilities which flew through my mind but none which prepared me for that ending. Bravo Ms Hay. That was pure class.
It’s billed as Fatal Attraction for the modern ages, and it absolutely is. With a certain slant on it. If you are looking for a domestic based thriller which will keep you engrossed from start to finish (and I did finish this book in one evening) and which will have you guessing and second guessing all the way through, one in which characters are once again richly drawn and the atmosphere occasionally so toxic you can barely breathe, then pick up Do No Harm. You won’t be disappointed.
Do No Harm is available now from the following retailers:
About the Author
Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin (2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. Her critically acclaimed debut thriller The Other Twin was published in 2017. She lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six cats and five African Land Snails.
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