A Double Life by Flynn Berry

A Double Life

Flynn Berry

Nearly thirty years ago, a brutal crime was committed in Claire's family home and her father disappeared. When the police tell Claire they’ve found her father, she learns how far she’ll go to finally find the truth.

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“A thrilling page-turner.” —Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train

“Breathtaking . . . As shocking as it is satisfying.” —The New York Times Book Review

A gripping, intense, stunningly written novel of psychological suspense from the award-winning author of Under the Harrow


Claire is a hardworking doctor leading a simple, quiet life in London. She is also the daughter of the most notorious murder suspect in the country, though no one knows it.

Nearly thirty years ago, while Claire and her brother slept upstairs, a brutal crime was committed in her family's townhouse. The next morning, her father's car was found abandoned near the English Channel, with bloodstains on the front seat. Her mother insisted she'd seen him in the house that night, but his powerful, privileged friends maintained his innocence. The first lord accused of murder in more than a century, he has been missing ever since.

When the police tell Claire they've found him, her carefully calibrated existence begins to fracture. She doesn't know if she's the daughter of a murderer or a wronged man, but Claire will soon learn how far she'll go to finally find the truth.

Loosely inspired by one of the most notorious unsolved crimes of the 20th century – the Lord Lucan case – A Double Life is at once a riveting page-turner and a moving reflection on women and violence, trauma and memory, and class and privilege.

Named a Must-Read Book of the Summer by Entertainment Weekly, BustleO Magazine, BBC, CrimeReads, and PureWow


Advance Galley Reviews

A different sort of thriller. I expected more of a murder mystery, not a book about how a tramatic experience shapes your life. Who exactly was leading the double life? Claire or her Dad? I felt sorry for Claire, but I didn't like her at all. Her life was full of horrible events, hut she kept trudging along. The book ends very quickly, but lags in the middle.

This book was different than I expected. It took some time to get into it, but I kept coming back to it. I had to get used to the flashbacks.

I read this book feeling like it was going to be an unreliable narrative book; but I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't. It actually is a emotional mystery into Clare's past when her father disappeared after a murder in her home. The event obsesses Clare to the point that she has to follow up on every lead into her father's disappearance even after she becomes an adult and a doctor. The book is inspired by the real life murder of a nanny for Lord Lucan in England. I would read up on it before reading the book. I think it makes it more interesting.

I had never heard of the Lord Lucan case before reading this book and I was instantly intrigued by the premise. I’m not sure how closely this story follows the real case but it is a really puzzling crime. One of my favorite parts of the book were the flashbacks to the time when the crime was committed. I found it all so interesting and I do plan on finding out more about Lord Lucan. The way that the story was told took me a little bit to get used to. Everything is told from Claire’s perspective, even the flashbacks of her parents before she was born. As the story progressed I didn’t mind it as much but it felt a little odd to have the narrator narrating in such detail things that I don’t think she could reasonably know. She does say that her mom told her and all that but some of it felt a little odd. Later the book does just do a flashback of just Claire’s mom perspective and I’m not sure why we didn’t just have that the whole time. The book really shined when Claire was actively searching for her father. She does a whole investigation where she befriends someone from her past and I loved those parts. The reason I gave this book four stars is because I would get so into the investigation and then it would change to something about her friends or what was happening with her brother. I felt like the book could have been stronger if some of that had been cut out because not all of it was necessary to move the story forward. To clarify, not every thing in a book has to move the story forward but it also shouldn’t hold the story back either. The last chunk of the book had me so hooked that I couldn’t put it down. I just wanted to know what was going to happen and so obviously for me that was the most suspenseful part of the book. I didn’t expect or see the ending happen at all. There really isn’t any twists in this book but there was a lot of doubt if her father committed the murder or not. For me, the ending was a little out of left field but I was so invested in Claire that I didn’t even mind it. I feel like if I wasn’t as connected to Claire then I might have been a little annoyed at the ending. Thankfully I was and this ended up being a really great read for me.

Not quite what I expected. I definitely wanted to like it more than I did. It did manage to be interesting and it drew me in at first. Unfortunately, it just kind of fell flat for me.

Thanks to First to Read for my free electronic ARC of A Double Life. I wanted to like this book so badly, but I just didn't. It's the first I've heard of the Lord Lucan case and it is incredibly fascinating and horrifying. I'm not sure what my life would look like if my father allegedly attempted to kill my mother and then vanished. That said, the main character in the book, Claire, is sympathetic, but over the course of the novel she really comes across as unhinged, and I'm not sure I agree with decisions that she made. Other characters aren't really given their due time and it's difficult to become invested in them. The book isn't really suspenseful or thrilling, and rather takes the slow build approach. Everything is simmering the entire time and it provides a sense of discomfort and disquiet. I think this was a case where the premise was strong, but the execution faltered and fell short, particularly the ending. It felt a bit predictable and also unnecessary.

I got pulled into this one pretty quickly and then I kind of just simmered there. I felt that we needed more at the end. I wanted proof of the things to make sure that it was her father. A talk between them would have been great more closure. Out of five stars I give it a 2 1/2.

First I want to share I loved the author’s first novel “Under the Harrow”, but this one read like the script for a BBC or PBS drama (which aren’t my favorite genres). Not much suspense or mystery for me, but give it try. I can’t wait for Flynn Berry’s next book!

This book was very interesting and I loved the insight into family dynamics. The perspective of the incident from the eyes of a small child made it interesting to figure out what happened, what was definitely true, and what could be not true. Seeing how the events changed the lives in more prolonged ways post the event was very interesting to see. The plot was interesting and it made a very enjoyable read.

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. This was an interesting book and one that I highly enjoyed. This is the story of a girl whose nanny is murdered and mum is beaten up one night in her childhood. Everyone, including the police think that her father did it. From the night that it happened, he disappears. She and her mum and brother change their names and move away. She always wanted to know who really did it, was it him, or someone else. She follows her father’s friends thinking that they might know. She finally gets up enough courage to approach the daughter of one of her father’s friends and finds out where he is. She finds him and finally ends her double life. This was a great read and one that I greatly recommend!

This one is a must read! I absolutely loved Claire and her search for her father and the truth of what happened the night he disappeared. Very well written and had the reader wanting to keep reading until the novel was finished. Will definitely recommend!

The blurb for A Double Life isn’t particularly vague or misleading, and yet, this book wasn’t what I expected. I think I’d been anticipating more of a spy novel of sorts, whereas this was closer to literary fiction full of mystery and suspense. But it was a thoroughly absorbing story that I enjoyed reading immensely. With a carefully constructed plot taking place in present day with flashbacks to fill in the backstory, this story unfolded at an even pace, revealing just enough to keep the reader curious. The main characters were nicely complex. I particularly enjoyed seeing Claire’s development and learning about her father. And coming in around 270 pages, this was a fast read that could be easily read in a sitting or two. A Double Life is a fairly straightforward book and doesn’t require much more explanation or description. If you like your mystery or suspense books to be more character driven or literary based, I’d definitely recommend giving this a shot!

Flynn's sophomore book was everything I could have wanted. I savored every sentence. This is going to be a book to look out for this year and I'm confident it will be one of the best.

This was a great thriller. I love stories that go back and forth in time. This one goes back twenty six years to a murder attempt and the disappearance of the main character's father. Claire is committed to finding her father and the truth. Definitely a boom I would recommend.

This was a really intriguing read, both for the mystery and the psychological study of the effects of violence and trauma... Berry has an engaging writing style that manages to keep you just that little bit off center. The characters are a great melange of personalities and the peek behind the curtain into the world of contemporary privileged aristocracy was fascinating.The story is plotted and paced well with just enough space between the lines to keep you wondering whether you can trust your instincts or not (turns out, I can't). This was a great find and Flynn Berry is on my list of authors to watch now...

Claire is a London physician living under an assumed identity. Time and again she finds herself disappointed when police tell her that their new search to find her missing father has not yielded any results. Twenty six years ago, while Claire and her brother were asleep upstairs in their London home, her father brutally murdered Claire’s nanny and then attempted to murder her mother. He fled the scene and was never apprehended. But Claire is determined to find her father and then discover the truth about what really happened that night. This psychological thriller alternates between the events that happened in the past and the current investigation that Claire has begun on her own. It is a story of class, privilege, deception, and the memories that a child holds about her family. It’s hard to put this one down as Claire inches closer to discovering the truth. Thank you to First to Read, Viking Press an imprint of Penguin Random House, and author Flynn Berry for giving me the opportunity to read this well written crime novel!

I found Claire's story to be interesting. Her father is accused of trying to kill her mother so he runs off, never to be heard from again. Her mother moves her and her brother away, changing their names and getting on with her life. Except, Claire is obsessed with finding out where her father went. She has the chance to cultivate a friendship from her former life and finally finds out where her father is. So, we goes there and locates where he lives. Now, I really liked this story up to this point; however, I did not care for the ending. I guess I felt it was too anti-climatic. Oh well, on to the next one!

I found this book to be a fascinating well written thriller until the last twenty pages. The ending was completely unsatisfying in my opinion. I thought the main character, intelligent and determined,was worthy of a better resolution.

I really wanted to like this book... I even did for a little bit. I loved getting to know the main character and learning to understand her. BUT I really didn't like the ending. In fact, I disliked the ending so much that it made me not like the book as a whole. It just seemed to abrupt and sudden. But maybe given everything that had happened that was the only way for it to end. Overall, not really my book I guess. And on to the next one...

It was a very engaging read, slow-paced and psychological but kept me interested the entire time. Claire is a character with a seemingly normal life, struggling with deep trauma. Berry takes us on her rather unusual journey to tackle that traumatic past and settle in to a quiet life again. Even if some of Claire's actions are morally questionable, you root for her the whole time. Quite the thriller.

WOW!! This is one intense and compelling thriller. I was pulled in from the first page and pushed out at the end. It is a fast, short read, with an ending I did not see coming. It’s not that it’s a complicated plot, it’s just that I didn’t see the twist. The wrap up may have been a bit too neat, but it was satisfying.

I did enjoy reading this book. It kept my attention, and it covers the topic of scars inflicted on children when they are young from which they never recover. Claire can not forget her father who escaped after being accused of murder. She is obsessed with finding out about him and seeing that he is punished. Throughout the book, the reader wonders if the father is guilty or not. The ending was surprising, which was good in a way, but the father recognizing his daughter after all of these years while she has altered her appearance is not believable enough for his actions. I will read more by Flynn Berry, as psychological thrillers are my favorite reads.

I found A Double Life very hard to read. It took me a long time to get through it and I only kept with it to see what the outcome would be. It is very slow paced and the main character was very unlikable. She had a tragic event in her life and seemed to live a very depressing existence wanting to find and seek revenge on her father for something he may or may not have done. The ending was a complete surprise and a bit rushed. I don't think I will be reading anything by this author again. I did not like the book at all.

The build up and suspense author Flynn Berry created in the beginning through 3/4 the way through this book was incredible. After finishing a chapter and wanting to see what would happen next, it would flashback in time and I knew I had to wait to find out. It kept me reading chapter after chapter. After getting to the crux of the story I felt a bit disappointed. There was no twist, no "hold your breath" part that I was waiting on the edge of my seat for. It was a page turner and read fast I will give the book that; it was just missing a strong ending.

A summer page-turner. A woman is murdered in Claire's home when she is a small child. Her father is accused and disappears. Is he dead or alive? Was he really the murderer.? Now an adult, Claire struggles to know her father and track down rumors that he is still alive. It's an interesting premise for a book, but I felt like the backstory behind the murder could have been developed better. The mother's perspective is provided by Claire who found her mother's journals after her premature death. I found the "B" story more interesting, one taken from today's headlines. Claire's brother who was a baby when the murder occurred is addicted to painkillers and struggles to get clean. Claire fears each phone call will bring bad news and repeatedly tries to help him into rehab. This is a quick read with a surprising conclusion.

I enjoyed reading A Double Life. A horrific murder takes place in Claire’s home when she was a child. Her father is either the murderer or a wrongly accused man. As an adult, she is determined to find the answer. The story goes between current time and when Claire was a child. The unraveling of the mystery is interesting and a good read. However, when the book comes to its climax, it is very rushed tied up too neatly. The scars of past seemed to have been too easily glossed over.

Quick read and I liked the plot... However, it felt like something was missing in the story. Nothing really happened until the very end and it wrapped up very quickly and almost too neatly.

Because I loved this author’s first book, Under The Harrow, I requested an ARC when I saw that A Double Life was available. I was disappointed in this book, even though it was only 270 pages it seemed to drag on for me and I had to force myself to finish it because I had been given an ARC. The story started out promising but lost me very quickly. Since I loved this authot’s first book, I will certainly try the next one.

A fascinating story of a young doctor who, along with her mother and brother, moved away and changed their names after her father was convicted of one of the most heinous murder crimes in recent history. Claire memories of her upper class father are fond ones that she has never been able to reconcile with what he did: slaughter their babysitter in savage, cold blood while their mother had gone out, leaving the children asleep. He mistook the babysitter for his ex-wife until he had killed her. At least that’s what everyone thought. He escaped and has never been caught. Claire’s mother insisted that his powerful, well placed friends helped him to escape and know where he is. 30 years pass. Her mother has died from cancer and her brother is addicted to tramadol, a painkiller, so Claire had been able to save neither of them. When it appears that her father has been found, Claire uses her intellect to track him down. Is he a murderer? A monster? When dark images start coming back to Claire as she stalks him will part of her twisted inheritance from her father manifest in her or will they both be proven guiltless?

I would give this book 3.5 stars. The main character, Claire, goes on a difficult journey to learn more about her past. She thinks that her father's friends know more than they let on, perhaps even where he has been since the night of the murder. The story is engaging in parts but slow in others. The ending also seemed too rushed.

An interesting study of the effects a brutal crime can inflict on a person's life. It kept my interest, but I enjoyed the plot line of the parent's relationship more than the main protagonist's storyline. I never really understood how such a damaged individual as Claire could have managed to pursue the advanced degree and training to become a medical doctor. I won't give away any spoilers, but I found the ending unsatisfying given the journey we'd been on with Claire. Too easy. Too trite. An okay read, but I'm not sure I'd go out of my way to read this author again.

Almost 5 stars, but I expected a little bit more from the ending. A very compelling thriller - it's a slow burn, but I read it very quickly. If you enjoyed Berry's first book, "Under the Harrow," you will definitely like this one.

Let me start by saying this book was not for me. I found it hard to follow at times and it was slower paced than I like for a "thriller". Claire appears to be living a normal life as a physician in London but looks can be deceiving. The title of Double Life can be reflected throughout multiple characters and the lives they lead in this book. For instance, Claire's dad is accused of killing her nanny and trying to kill her father. When he goes on the run, Claire's mother changes her name to help in allowing her to live a somewhat normal life as she grows up. Although this novel was promoted as a thriller I don't consider it one. I would consider it more fiction but the murder at the center of the story is probably why they promoted it as a thriller. I would recommend this to people who like thrillers with a slow burn and don't like graphic details about murders in fiction novels.

I wanted to like this book more than I did. The main character was annoying and unlikeable. I find it improbable that by the ending she seems to have had a complete transformation of her personality. The portrayal of the British upper classes was a total cliche and the ending was tied up in a very big rush.

I was entranced with this book! A daughter hunting her father for more than twenty years yet afraid to find him. Such a twist on your usual murder mystery novel. Did she love him or not? Was he guilty or not? Would she ever know? The events had so impacted her life that she lived in fear of people ever finding out about her past. Why couldn't she move on? Most definitely a five-star read.

Having read this author's debut novel, Under the Harrow, I was eager to have early access to A Double Life. That eagerness paid off: this author truly is one to watch and I will be doing so in the future. A Double Life is a tale of psychological suspense told by Claire Alden, a 34-year-old physician searching for - and obsessed by - her father, who murdered her nanny and attacked her mother, when Claire was 8 years old. Through the next 25 years Claire searches for her father, a titled member of British society who escaped with the help of his high-born friends. The atmospheric story builds slowly as Claire seeks to learn the truth of what happened: whether her father did it, if so why he did it, what he really is like - and what she's prepared to do about it.

There was a simplicity aspect to the book that I really enjoyed. The author didn't try to make this an overly complicated mystery with so many twists and turns that end up hurting the story rather than enhancing it. The book itself is only around 270 pages so the story doesn't drag on and on as you are wondering what happened to the father who disappeared after a woman was murdered. Ended up finishing this in a day as it was an enjoyable read and I find it fascinating that the book was loosely based on a true story. Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy!

Flynn Berry's first book, Under the Harrow, was one of my favorite books ever, a brilliant mystery set in England, about a woman whose sister is murdered. Even though she's American, you would swear she's a natural born Brit, with her attention to every detail. I looked forward to her next book and even checked occasionally to see if she had something coming out. What a great surprise to see her second book, A Double Life, offered as a First to Read selection. A Double Life is another home run from Berry, even if not quite as compelling, in spite of an auspicious beginning. But still highly recommended. Claire is a doctor in London and devoted to her troubled younger brother. Thirty years before, a horrible crime was committed in their London townhouse and her father was the prime suspect. He fled the country, possibly with the help of his wealthy friends. Claire, her mother and her brother were left to try to pick up the pieces. Claire is currently successful but lonely, and no one except one childhood friend knows that she's the daughter of one of the country's most infamous murderers, still at large. A detective contacts Claire to report a possible sighting of her father. Even though these have happened occasionally over the years, Claire convinces herself that this one is real. She becomes obsessed with finding her father and, equally importantly, finding out what really happened that horrible night. She hopes to get closure for her and her family so that she and her brother can finally move on with their lives. She makes some good and some bad decisions along the way, and the book loses its way a bit toward the end, but the ending is good and satisfying. Overall another fantastic work from Flynn Berry. I look forward to her next book. If you haven't yet, please check out Under the Harrow. Thank you First to Read for an advanced e-galley,

A Double Life started out very promising. The story drew me in quickly and I liked how the story unfolded by taking us back and forth from the past to the present. By the second half I was losing interest fast. The main character was making unrealistic decisions and the story seemed forced. Some story points didn’t seem to tie in with the overall story. I probably wouldn’t have finished if this had been a longer book. Thank you First to Read for an advanced e-galley,

This book borrows heavily from the life of Lord Lucan, who disappeared without a trace after the murder of his wife's nanny, of which he was accused. In the novel it is Claire, the daughter of the supposed murderer, who decides to find out the truth about her father. She suspects that his friends were complicit in his disappearance and know where he is hiding. Using various tricks she manages to learn his location and goes there for a final confrontation.

 


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