In Safe House, a woman named Steffi is trying to escape her past by changing her name to Charlie and moving to a remote coastal village. In her life as Steffi, she inadvertently helped her ex-boyfriend cover up a murder, and her mistake gave him the opportunity to commit another murder before he was caught. Even though Steffi was ultimately the one who provided police with the evidence to jail him, she still faced the brunt of public censure and had to spend a couple of years in jail. As Charlie, Steffi hoped to get a completely new start, but instead finds that someone from her past is determined to track her down.
Safe House is a solid and emotional thriller. I like how the author delved a bit into Steffi/Charlie’s psyche, and how she was so easily gaslighted by Lee because she grew up with a similarly abusive father. Part of me wished the author had leaned into that part of the story a bit more, but another part liked that the author maintained a subtler take on the subject.
The story was interesting enough for me to finish the book, but it never really grabbed me and made me NEED to keep reading. Based on the description, I thought it would be a super tense cat-and-mouse game where Steffi/Charlie could feel the person from her past breathing down her neck. There was some scary stuff going on, we also had chapters from the point of view of the person tracking Steffi down, and there was a satisfyingly surprising reveal near the end. But the story for me didn’t quite have as much urgency as I expected / hoped for.
I was also kinda meh about the beginning, where we meet Steffi’s lawyer friend Conor and the cops who were investigating the initial murders. The way it was set up, I thought Conor would play a much bigger role in the story, but he pretty much disappeared for most of the book. I didn’t really get much of a sense of his friendship with Steffi/Charlie and why he’d be the one person she’d trust at that super vulnerable part of her life.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.