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The Girl Before
Cover of The Girl Before
The Girl Before
A Novel
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERIn the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman's seemingly good fortune, and another...
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERIn the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman's seemingly good fortune, and another...
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  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
  • In the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman's seemingly good fortune, and another woman's mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception.
    SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD
    Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
    The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.
    EMMA
    Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.
    JANE
    After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home's previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.
    Praise for The Girl Before
    "Dazzling, startling, and above all cunning—a pitch-perfect novel of psychological suspense."—Lee Child
    "The Girl Before generates a fast pace. . . . [J. P.] Delaney intersperses ethics questions on stand-alone pages throughout the book. . . . The single most ingenious touch is that we're not provided either woman's answers."—The New York Times
    "J. P. Delaney builds the suspense."Vanity Fair
    "Immediate guarantee: You will not be able to put this book down. . . . Fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train will realize that there's not only more where that came from, but it's also more thrilling."American Booksellers Association
    "This is going to be the buzziest book of 2017. We may only be a few weeks into 2017, but we're calling it early: This year, The Girl Before will be that book. The upcoming novel by author J. P. Delaney has all of the makings of a sexy murder mystery that is sure to hit the bestseller chart, and it already has the movie deal to prove it."InStyle
    "Delaney has created a genuinely eerie, fascinating setting in One Folgate Street. . . . The novel's structure, volleying back and forth as first Emma and then Jane begin to question their improbable luck, is beautifully handled. The pages fly."USA Today
    "The house has a dark past and a landlord that's anything but welcoming."New York Post, one of the must-read books of the week
    "The Girl Before is deservedly anointed the 'top girl' of this season's suspense novels."The Washington Post
    "The Girl Before is a cat-and-mouse game that toys with our expectations and twists our sympathies. At times almost unbearably suspenseful, it keeps us guessing from the first page to the very last. Don't miss it."—Joseph Finder

Excerpts-

  • From the book 1. Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

    Then: Emma

    It's a lovely little flat, the agent says with what could almost pass for genuine enthusiasm. Close to the amenities. And there's that private bit of roof. That could become a sun terrace, subject of course to the landlord's consent.

    Nice, Simon agrees, trying not to catch my eye. I'd known the flat was no good as soon as I walked in and saw that six-­foot stretch of roof below one of the windows. Si knows it too but he doesn't want to tell the agent, or at least not so soon it'll seem rude. He might even hope that if I listen to the man's stupid patter long enough I'll waver. The agent's Simon's kind of guy: sharp, brash, eager. He probably reads the magazine Simon works for. They were exchanging sports chat before we even got up the stairs.

    And here you have a decent-­sized bedroom, the agent's saying. With ample—­

    It's no good, I interrupt, cutting short the charade. It's not right for us.

    The agent raises his eyebrows. You can't be too choosy in this market, he says. This'll be gone by tonight. Five viewings today, and it's not even on our website yet.

    It's not secure enough, I say flatly. Shall we go?

    There are locks on all the windows, he points out, plus a Chubb on the door. Of course, you could install a burglar alarm, if security's a particular concern. I don't think the landlord would have any objection.

    He's talking across me now, to Simon. Particular concern. He might as well have said, Oh, is the girlfriend a bit of a drama queen?

    I'll wait outside, I say, turning to leave.

    Realizing he's blundered, the agent adds, If it's the area that's the problem, perhaps you should have a look farther west.

    We already have, Simon says. It's all out of our budget. Apart from the ones the size of a tea bag.

    He's trying to keep the frustration out of his voice, but the fact that he needs to riles me even more.

    There's a one-­bedroom in Queen's Park, the agent says. A bit grotty, but . . .

    We looked at it, Simon says. In the end we felt it was just a bit too close to that estate. His tone makes it clear that we means "she."

    Or there's a third-­floor just come on in Kilburn—­

    That too. There was a drainpipe next to one of the windows.

    The agent looks puzzled.

    Someone could have climbed it, Simon explains.

    Right. Well, the rental season's only just started. Perhaps if you wait a bit.

    The agent has clearly decided we're time-­wasters: He too is sidling toward the door. I go and stand outside, on the landing, so he won't come near me.

    We've already given notice on our old place, I hear Simon say. We're running out of options. He lowers his voice. Look, mate, we were burgled. Five weeks ago. Two men broke in and threatened Emma with a knife. You can see why she'd be a bit jumpy.

    Oh, the agent says. Shit. If someone did that to my girlfriend I don't know what I'd do. Look, this might be a long shot, but . . . His voice trails off.

    Yes? Simon says.

    Has anyone at the office mentioned One Folgate Street to you?

    I don't think so. Has it just come on?

    Not exactly, no.

    The agent seems unsure whether to pursue this or not.

    But it's available? Simon persists.

    Technically, yes, the agent says. And it's a fantastic property. Absolutely fantastic. In a different league from this. But the landlord's . . . to say he's particular would be putting it mildly.

    What area? Simon asks.

    Hampstead, the agent says. Well, more...

About the Author-

  • The Girl Before is the first psychological thriller from JP Delaney, a pseudonym for a writer who has previously written bestselling fiction under other names. It is being published in thirty-five countries. A film version is being brought to the screen by Academy Award–winning director Ron Howard.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 24, 2016
    In the pseudonymous Delaney’s riveting psychological thriller, first Emma Matthews and then Jane Cavendish take up residence at One Folgate Street in London. The house, a masterpiece of minimalist architecture designed by the enigmatic Edward Monkford, is let only to tenants willing to abide by his stringent rules, which reduce life to its basics. This setup appeals to people looking for order, like Emma, who’s trying to recover from a brutal attack that’s hastening the end of her relationship with a man who adores her. Later, it is Jane, grief-stricken by the stillbirth of her daughter, who seeks asylum within One Folgate’s walls. Both find themselves drawn to the house’s creator and its tragic history. Were the deaths of Edward’s family members accidental? Or were they murdered for not conforming to Edward’s obsessive need for order? Writing with precision and grace, Delaney strips away the characters’ secrets until the raw truth of each is revealed. That Emma and Jane act in often foolhardy ways hasn’t prevented rights sales in more than 30 markets and movie rights to Universal with Ron Howard directing. Agent: Caradoc King, United Artists (U.K.).

  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 27, 2017
    Jane Cavendish and Emma Williams, searching London for a cheap safe place to live, are entranced by what appears to be a bargain, a unique minimalist house automatically controlled by cutting-edge technology. Both are equally entranced by the house’s architect, Edward Monkford, a darkly handsome control freak who demands that voluminous stipulations be met before he turns over the Fitbit-like wristband that automatically opens the front door. The first of many twists in this psychological thriller from Delaney is that, though both perspectives are written in the present tense, Emma’s takes place in the past. Actors Fox (reading Jane’s sections) and Williams (reading Emma’s sections) move the frequently shifting plot along at a swift clip, clearly distinguishing the differing emotions of the two main characters even as they go through their similar paces. The amazing automated house, almost as prominent as its inhabitants, does everything but speak. But while Fox and Williams are not called upon to give voice to the brick-and-mortar character, they are totally successful in capturing the atmosphere that the cold, indifferent, slightly terrifying building creates. A Ballantine hardcover.

  • Kirkus

    November 1, 2016
    A high-tech town house is leased by its control-freak architect to a series of women who look just like his dead wife."Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life." "A person close to you confesses in confidence that they ran someone over while drunk. As a result they have given up drinking for good. Would you feel obliged to report it to the police?" Agree or disagree: "I try to do things well even when others are not around to notice." These questions are part of the rental application for the house at 1 Folgate St., an ultramodern property that comes with "about two hundred stipulations": no books or magazines, no pets, no rugs, no cushions, no children, nothing on the floor at any time, and so on. Compliance is monitored by sensors and cameras, by a cleaning service, and by regular inspections. The entire environment is automated, with an application called "Housekeeper" controlling everything from shower pressure to internet access. Who in their right mind would want to live here? Emma and Jane, that's who. And if they were ever in their right minds, they certainly aren't after Edward Monkford, the architect and owner, gets hold of them. The two report their experiences in alternating chapters. Emma is "the girl before" of the title: she's moving in with a boyfriend named Simon after a burglary at their old apartment. Jane is solo, attempting to rebuild her life after a stillbirth. Little more can be said without destroying what little suspense Delaney has managed. About a third of the way in, it all seems so obvious. But wait--there's a twist! With hopelessly fake characters and far too many red herrings and reversals, 1 Folgate St. is a house with no load-bearing walls, collapsing under the weight of its own materials. Prediction: the Ron Howard movie, already in the works, will be much better than the book.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    August 1, 2016
    A big hit at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair, where Ballantine preempted world rights, this new work by a pseudonymous author of best-selling fiction features a fragile young woman who falls for the charismatic architect of her new home. But what happened to the previous tenant? Rights sold to over 30 countries; Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard will adapt for the big screen.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2017

    Emma and Jane have a lot in common; they even look alike. Each has been through a traumatic experience and needs to move into a new London apartment, but neither has much money. They both see a gorgeous, glamorous (but minimalist) flat on Folgate Street that is, miraculously, within budget-assuming that the renter meets the owner/architect's strict requirements: no alterations, no rugs or carpets, no pictures, no potted plants, no throw pillows, and about 200 other stipulations. The flat should be experienced as is and, in fact, is meant to transform the occupant rather than the other way around. But there's something very compelling about the apartment. When Jane moves in, she learns that Emma was the previous resident-and that she died there. Told in chapters that alternate between Emma's and Jane's stories, the book ratchets up the tension page by page as Jane can't resist looking into Emma's life and death. By the end, readers will have no idea whom to believe or how far any of the characters will go to get what they want. VERDICT Teens who gobbled up Paula Hawkins's The Girl on the Train and Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl will be clamoring for this page-turning psychological thriller, which is already being made into a movie by Ron Howard.-Sarah Flowers, formerly at Santa Clara County Public Library, CA

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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