Book Review – Gloria

Looking at my bookshelf (and Kindle library) recently, I noticed something – what I read is 80% fantasy and science fiction, and the other 20% historical fiction. Maybe it was high time that I read something a little different.

Many years ago, when I worked in my local branch of Borders (may it rest in peace etc) I went through a phase of enjoying thrillers, from The Silence of the Lambs to The Rosary Girls. Maybe it was high time I revisited the genre and, hey, Katherine Shaw had just released a thriller that might well fill the gap in my life!

It’s time for Gloria!

Gloria is, quite unsurprisingly, about a woman named Gloria, who lives an idyllic but unfulfilling life with her successful husband Greg in upper-class suburbia. She fills her days with painting and drinking wine while Greg goes about his business, a business which Gloria is kept very much in the dark about, she is even forbidden to enter his office for he likes it kept just so and God forbid anyone messes up his desk.

We soon learn that Greg is, to put it lightly, a bit of a dick. He humiliates his wife at a party and then proceeds to act like an entitled, rage-fuelled arsed about the whole thing when he gets home. If not for Gloria’s art then things would be very bad indeed, and fortunately for her, her work has been noticed by a famous art dealer from London – can Gloria work up the courage to do something so bold as to follow her dreams, right under her husband’s controlling gaze? A gaze so controlling that Greg routinely finds ways to drive a wedge between Gloria and her daughter who lives across the English Channel in Amsterdam?

As things aren’t already tense enough at this point, Gloria discovers what Greg has been keeping in his office and oh boy does the revelation ramp up the tension for the rest of the book. A tense game of domestic cat and mouse becomes a straight-up race against time as Gloria escapes her husband’s grip and makes her way to The Netherlands, helped on her way by a team of loyal, compassionate and very human friends. It’s found family at its finest!

To explain the story any more would have us crashing into spoiler territory, suffice to say that Katherine has a firm hand on the tiller when it comes to steadily crank up the tension from a gentle simmer to a frantic, red-hot finale. Helping my investment as a reader was the fact that every character is memorable, though extra props have to go to Greg, who became one of the greatest villains I have ever experienced in a thriller. That man is just a total shit-house, and it by the time he gets his comeuppance I was very much ready for it!

Gloria is also very well written and edited, I don’t recall encountering any unusual phrasing or typos and the whole thing flowed very easily. So give it a read, it might well be the best thriller you’ll read this year!

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