Sarah Bonner (Hachette Australia: Hodder Studio) 2022, 329pp, RRP $32.99 (paperback); $45.00 (hardback); $15.99 (e-book)

English accountant-turned-author Sarah Bonner’s first novel might seem to be built upon one of the mightiest of horror/thriller clichés – the virtuous twin versus the evil one – but it’s not as simple as that at all. And, as well, this is very much a COVID book, not only written during lockdowns, but using the earliest stages of the pandemic back in 2020 as a crucial plot device.

Messily estranged adult identical twins Megan and Leah appear to be so different: Leah is famous and glamourous, and has made big bucks writing a nasty book about her upbringing, while poor Megan is a harried professional with an annoying husband named Chris, from whom she feels increasingly distant.

When Megan sneaks a peek at Chris’ phone, she finds a photo that she at first thinks is of her, but then realises that it can’t be due to one intimate detail, and she eventually travels secretly to Leah’s fancy home to have it out with her. And regrets it.

Trying to clean up her mess, Megan decides to become Leah, and it’s easier than she thinks, although the new life she creates for herself is thrown into disarray when, you guessed it, COVID hits. And, suddenly, we switch.

Very difficult to discuss, this begins with a heavy dose of familiarity, but soon Bonner allows the story, and Megan, to take several turns, twisting the narrative into something genuinely unexpected. And coolly amoral.

Dave Bradley

This title is available through the Hachette Australia website. Click HERE to purchase your copy.

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