The Girl Before by JP Delaney

Categories:  mystery, thriller, and suspense; psychological thriller
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: January 24, 2017
My Rating: 3 stars


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.

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.

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.


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.


The Girl Before is a mind-blowing psychological thriller of the strangest and eeriest proportions.  A thriller where architecture, asceticism, minimalism (that puts Marie Kondo to shame), murder, and twisted romance vie for attention.  A narrative that is shared by two residents of Edward Monkford’s controversial architectural masterpiece; one past resident and one present… one dead resident and one living… two intertwined and sometimes unreliable narratives that ramp up the suspense.

As a psychological thriller, I love The Girl Before.  I dropped my rating from 4 stars to 3 due to the fact that the romance between the two women (at different times) and Edward Monkford is so twisted and dark.  It is the “modern” thing to do but as a Christian, I was turned off by it.  I finished the story because I really wanted to know the ending as I was pulled whole-heartedly into the mystery.

I recommend that The Girl Before only be read by adults.  Those of you adults who love a good psychological thriller and are willing to deal with the bizarre sex will likely love it.

As a reviewer for NetGalley, I received a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. My thanks to NetGalley, the author, and publisher.


JP Delaney is "a not-so-secret pseudonym for Tony Strong, a London advertising copywriter and author of four previous novels under other names." source

other books by Tony Strong