Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour post for Simon Says by Jo Wesley! I have absolutely loved this book and I’ve been eager to share my thoughts with you all! Well, today is the day my friends!
Her life may not be perfect but she’s happy. Until she makes a terrible decision – and learns the hard way that home is not a place of refuge.
Not while Simon lurks in every shadow.
He groomed her as a teen: terrorised her into fleeing, leaving her baby behind. Now the man who destroyed her childhood has become the perfect father to her teenage daughter. And her return threatens his future.
A desperate man is a dangerous one.
Simon says she must leave or suffer the consequences. She refuses.
Now it’s his move. Because it’s not enough to face your demons.
Sometimes, you must destroy them.
As soon as I finished reading this book I rated it the second-best I have read this year. Out of just over 50 books, that’s no mean feat. My regular readers will know just how much of a fan I am of Margaret Atwood and I have been raving about getting and reading The Testaments. It is probably THE THING I have been looking forward to the most this year. I picked up my copy of The Testaments on the 10th September, fully expecting to set all other books aside to devour it. But I couldn’t. I had to know how the story and events of Simon Says panned out. I consciously CHOSE to keep reading this magnificent psychological thriller. Let me tell you why.
You know in your gut what happened to this poor girl from the very beginning… why she was forced away from her home and her family to start again. Cindy, aka Karis is very much down on her luck. After surviving a close shave with death, she takes her children to the only other place she knows – her old family home. Back where it all happened, Cindy is forced to face her demons, the neighbours, and Simon.
The narrative is split in two; half the chapters narrate the story of Cindy as a fourteen year old girl and the other half in present day. Each timeline unfolds in a way that spurs you on to read the next chapter to find out what happens next. It is horrifying to watch Simon manipulate Cindy by buying her trust, pushing the boundaries further and further until he does the unthinkable. It’s awful and disgusting to know what happened to her… but you can’t help reading more. Thankfully, we are spared some details of the event, but we know exactly how it made Cindy feel once she realised what had happened later on.
What is more harrowing is that this happens to people, anyone, but especially children. When families don’t believe (or don’t want to believe) the truth then the victim suffers all the more. This book takes you on a real rollercoaster ride of emotions – upset, anger, pity and a lust for vengeance and justice on Cindy’s behalf.
I was captivated from start to finish. You would hope that very few people could ever have been in Cindy’s position and lived through the abuse and torment she has. That said, she is completely relatable as a woman. The trauma she has experienced in her life hasn’t affected her so much that it serves to alienate her. If anything, it has empowered her. Over ten years have passed since the fateful event, but becoming a mother has brought out a strength in her that she didn’t have back then – the desire to protect her own children from the man that ruined her life.
I cannot stress enough just how fantastic this book is! It’s on my list of books to re-read and I’ll definitely read more books by Jo Wesley. I hate that the subject matter of the book is even a thing, but it is handled so well. I love the book!
SIMON SAYS isn’t my first thriller. Several unpublished novels went before it, but there was something about this story that made me come back to it time-and-time again. Although it was written in 2015, recently a few author friends encouraged me to publish it as they remembered reading it years before.
I used to work in an office where the wider team comprised people working with drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and general community safety. I wrote SIMON SAYS during this period and my team provided information and advice. Also, the Red Watch team at the local fire station read my first chapter during their tea break and advised on a couple of points to make it more accurate (I thought it would be one person, not the whole team reading it!).
Currently, I am completing a novel in another genre but I really enjoy writing thrillers, so I am planning my next one.
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