Mystery of the Month – The Ex

The Ex wins Mystery of the Month (albeit more thriller than mystery) and also the title of Trickiest Book to Review. It’s near impossible to describe the plot without giving away the gasp-out-loud reveal.

Georgia has always struggled to find a sense of belonging. She loves her job as a nurse but is keen to settle down with the man of her dreams. Finding herself alone at a bar after a failed Tinder date, Georgia meets Luke. He’s charming, witty and clever, and their relationship blooms quickly. There’s just one obstacle on their road to happily ever after – Luke’s “problem ex”, Cadence. Luke tells Georgia they’re still living together and Cadence is not quite ready to let him go. Georgia begins to receive nasty notes on her car and disturbing emails telling her to stay away from Luke. After her home is broken into and ransacked, Georgia wonders how far Cadence is prepared to go to destroy her relationship with Luke. Could she be dangerous?

That’s about all I can say about Nicola Moriarty’s The Ex before we venture into major spoiler territory. I needed Panadol for the eye strain I suffered after binge reading the end of the book in one night. I had to know how Georgia was going to get herself out of the predicament she unwittingly found herself in.

This a fastidiously plotted novel. Nicola Moriarty is clever not to give too much away, providing just enough detail for an astute reader to correctly guess what’s going on whilst simultaneously making us doubt ourselves. Georgia’s developing romance with Luke is interspersed with short scenes of a confrontation between Cadence and Georgia in an elevator. Is this their first meeting, and if so, what has brought Georgia to the point that she’s stuck in an elevator with the unpredictable and possibly unhinged Cadence? The interactions between Georgia and Cadence are the best moments in the story.

The dialogue is tight and often witty, and while the first third of the book serves more to raise the reader’s curiosity, once we get past the big reveal in the middle, the tension amps up quickly and dramatically. It’s not all doom and drama – there are several light-hearted moments between Georgia and her regular patient, Jerry, as well as some nice scenes with Georgia’s family, and moments of humour involving her mother. Despite the sometimes grim subject matter, this is a fun and entertaining read.

If you enjoyed Friend Request by Laura Marshall, or Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris then you must read The Ex – a top notch domestic noir thriller about past relationships coming back to wreak havoc on your life.

The Ex by Nicola Moriarty is published by Harper Collins Australia.

Standout Simile:

In the in-between stage, after she’d swallowed the tablets but before she’d passed out, the regrets had come marching across her body like an army of ants. What have you done? they hissed as they marched. What have you done?

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