Safe House by Jo Jakeman is a story about past mistakes and how quickly you can lose yourself and change your future if you trust the wrong person. In her second thriller, Jakeman weaves a slow-burn suspense story that combines some intense scenes and a main character whose choices will make readers question her intentions.
The story is told using dual timelines. The first focuses on Steffi’s new life as Charlie Miller, a woman who wants to quietly start over after serving ten months in prison for giving her murderous boyfriend a false alibi. There are also flashbacks to Steffi’s old life which enable readers to witness how and why Steffi made the decisions that irrevocably changed her life.
There are good underlying messages about women standing up for themselves, but I particularly enjoyed the creepy ‘someone’s watching you’ vibe. These aspects were done well but I found the tension inconsistent and the book faltered a bit in the middle, taking on a more contemporary fiction feel as page time is spent showing Charlie easily acclimating to her new life and friends in a small Cornish town. Nice but not quite riveting stuff. Thankfully, things pick up for an exciting and satisfying conclusion as the story refocuses on the suspense aspect.
I thought this was a much stronger book than Jackman’s previous book, The Exes’ Revenge. I enjoyed how she focused more on character development, the addition of thought-provoking topics and I felt she had better twists in her story this time out.
— Laurie P.