If I Can't Have You - Charlotte Levin

Constance has been moving through life without much purpose, but then she meets Samuel. He gives her all the right signals and she has finally found the one, although, Samuel doesn't seem to be on the same page. Don't worry, Constance will make sure he is soon.

Starting my review by discussing the ending seems a little odd, but hear me out. The advertising and tagline for this novel made the ending relatively clear but I was still blown away by Levin's ability to surprise me as a reader by building and building upon Constance's experiences and memories to create an outstanding story development. Constance came across as slightly odd for a main character, she wasn't immediately likeable but it was easy to feel some pity for her and by Levin employing extraordinary writing skills we end up siding with her despite her actions and persistent attitude.

This squirmy psychological thriller developed at the perfect speed and with increasing tension that overspills at the most opportune time. Levin establishes early on what the plot will be, it was easy to connect the dots of Constance's life that have led up to this downward spiral and as a reader we keep expecting her next move but each time Levin takes us in another direction keeping us on the edge of our seats with each page. It's strange for the main plot points of a novel (a catalyst for the downward spiral, an ending, the background) to be relatively predictable but it is what is in between these events that make the story so captivating and thrilling.

Whilst I say the ending was relatively predictable I am only telling half the truth. The way Constance approaches her narrative made it clear to me that a certain revelation would be revealed but Levin throws in a complete turn around on the final pages that just made this a top tier psychological thriller.

As her debut I can only expect good things from her going forward based on this release and Levin will definitely remain on my "author to watch" list for some time to come.

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