3 out of 4 stars
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Following Hanlon’s sudden resignation from the position of vice-chancellor (VC) at the University of South East London, Anna, a psychology professor, is placed on a panel that is tasked with interviewing potential replacements. After a series of meetings, all other candidates on the list are dropped except Simon Heath. However, there’s one problem with Heath of which only Anna is aware. Heath raped her when she was his student years ago. Nonetheless, the issue comes to light when Anna confides in Joanna, the HR officer.
In a shocking turn of events, someone winds up dead, with Anna appearing to be in the center stage. Just when some detectives begin investigations to uncover the mystery behind the death, another body turns up. This time, the corpse is found in Anna’s office. Who has been killed, and why? Who is responsible for the deaths? Why has Hanlon resigned, and what is its connection to the murders? How does Anna fit into all these? Will the perpetrator(s) of the murders be found and brought to justice? Who gets the new VC role? In Believe Me, the author, Paula Nicolson, provides answers to the previous questions and more.
I think the most glaring positive about this book is its unpredictable but coherent plot twists. Just when you think you’ve figured out who is behind the killings, fresh evidence that may exonerate “your suspect” comes to light. At some point, I got tired of guessing and decided to flow with the story as it progressed. Because of this, I was constantly left in suspense, which is an integral aspect of every good fiction book. The second thing I like about the novel is that the writer did a good job with character development for most characters. Coupled with the third-person narrative style the author employed, there were several points in which the characters engaged in dialogues with each other. As a result, the story progressed at a good pace, and I was able to understand the characters better.
Although I don’t have any favorite characters, I think readers may find Anna’s nature fascinating. I say this because the author provides an occasional peek into her thoughts, and I found them interesting at times, especially when she was faced with something or someone that made her uncomfortable. In this book, everyone is a suspect, so don’t be quick to root for anyone until the end because you’ll be shocked by the outcome of events. I can say that I am pleased I read this 205-page book.
Despite the positive points, I had several reservations about the concluding parts of the novel. First, the end appeared rushed. I often felt like the connections that were established between some characters that led to the resolution of the conflict of the story were premature. What I mean is that it looked like the writer was in a hurry to finish off the complex story and started creating several half-baked relationships between some characters to suit the end. The second thing I dislike about the book is the unrealistic scene that I found to be an important part of the story's conflict resolution. I mean, how can a psychopath forget to collect their hostage’s phone and leave them alone to get food?
I have decided to remove one star to rate Believe Me 3 out of 4 stars. The point I subtracted is a result of the reservations I discussed in the previous paragraph. I cannot rate this novel any less than I have because I believe that it is a good read with an interesting plot. Also, this piece is professionally edited since I found only three errors throughout the text. Readers that are interested in university fiction stories filled with mystery would enjoy this edition. However, readers affected by profanities should sit this one out, as this book is littered with non-borderline profane words.
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