Beautiful Malice: A Novel By Rebecca James

Not since Cat’s eye by Margaret Atwood have I felt so disturbed about women friendships. Not even Robber Bride‘s main character had such malintent and conniving personality like Alice. What happens when popular girl Alice on a self-destruct path meets mousy girl Katherine with a tragic past. Add a sprinkle of betrayal, cheating, mind-boggling cruelty between people and you have yourself a story that will keep people captivated from start to finish.

Shocking and utterly absorbing, Rebecca James’s strong narrative will grip readers from the very first page. BEAUTIFUL MALICE has become a publishing phenomenon, sparking numerous auctions worldwide, selling to 27 countries, and launching a previously unknown writer into the centre of the international book market.

The Story

Who is Katherine Patterson? It is a question she hopes no one can answer. To erase her past, Katherine has moved to a new city, enrolled in a new school, and even changed her name. She’s done the next best thing to disappearing altogether. Now, wary and alone, she seeks nothing more than anonymity. What she finds instead is the last thing she expected: a friend.

Even more unlikely, Katherine’s new friend is the most popular and magnetic girl in school. Extroverted, gorgeous, flirtatious, and unpredictable, she is everything that Katherine is not and doesn’t want to be: the center of attention. Yet Alice’s enthusiasm is infectious, her candor sometimes unsettling, and Katherine, in spite of her guarded caution, finds herself drawn into Alice’s private circle.

But Alice has secrets, too—darker than anyone can begin to imagine.  And when she lets her guard down at last, Katherine discovers the darkest of them all. For there will be no escaping the past for Katherine Patterson—only a descent into a trap far more sinister… and infinitely more seductive.

‘Truth or dare?’ she asks.
 
I hesitate. I have so many secrets, so many things I don’t want to reveal, but this is only a game, only a bit of fun. ‘Truth,’ I say finally. ‘I can imagine one of your dares, and I don’t fancy running down Oxford Street naked tonight.’
 
‘Truth,’ Alice says slowly, drawing out the vowel sound as if she’s savouring the word. ‘Are you sure? Are you sure you can be completely honest?’
 
‘I think so. Try me.’
 
‘Okay.’ And then she looks at me curiously. ‘So. Were you glad, deep down? Were you glad to be rid of her? Your perfect sister? Were you secretly glad when she was killed?’
I loved this book, the creepy sense of menace, but without the gore and guts that we see in so many thrillers. Here the menace is all pyschological, and so beautifully done.
Teenager Katherine has moved to the city after a tragedy in her life.At first she keeps herself to herself to avoid anyone prying into her past but soon becomes friends with the outgoing and seemingly vibrant Alice.
As time goes on however she realises that Alice is becoming increasingly unbalanced and showing a cruel streak which Katherine wants no part of. But breaking off her friendship with Alice is easier said than done, Alice is not one to be easily cast aside, and nor is she the sort of enemy you would want.
As the story progresses so does the tension, building to more tragedy, and I can only recommend it as a fantastic page turner which I read in 2 days.
And I would agree with the other reviewers who said that the cover is totally misleading. Had it not been recommended to me by Amazon I would probably not have bought it. With a bright swirly cover like that I would assume it was chicklit (not my usual read thesedays), it should have a much more menacing cover to give a better impression of the dark kind of book it really is.

About the Author

Rebecca James was born in Sydney in 1970. She grew up in numerous different places throughout Australia – including Bourke, Sydney, Wellington and Bathurst. Rebecca has worked as a waitress, a kitchen designer, an English teacher in both Indonesia and Japan, a barmaid, and (most memorably) a mini-cab telephone-operator in London. Rebecca lives in Australia with her partner and their four sons.

Million-dollar mum hailed as new J.K. Rowling: https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/million-dollar-mum-hailed-as-new-j-k-rowling-20091107-gdtsio.html
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