The Maid’s Diary

Montlake. Mar. 2023. 380p. ISBN 9781542034456. pap. $16.99. SUSPENSE
Told in alternating time lines from before and after a bloody event, this Vancouver-set thriller features Kit Darling, a maid and woman scorned. Kit is leading a fairly contented life when she enters a new client’s house and sees a portrait of the owner, a famous skier who hurt her in the past. She takes the unique intimacy provided to maids and delves deep into the couple’s secrets. Unfortunately, Kit is unlikable and inconsistently written, oscillating between a talented manipulator and villain and a broken, lonely woman. Her life outside the immediate action seems undefined. Chapters shift perspectives, including Kit’s, told from her diary. The style of the diary jars readers out of the flow of action, as Kit breaks the fourth wall, speaking to the diary and describes events in an elaborate and unrealistic manner. Nevertheless, White builds suspense and tension effectively, and this moves the story through its weak details and an unnecessary side plot featuring a detective’s infirm husband. A compelling and interesting concept hindered by poor character development.
VERDICT Libraries with large thriller collections, or where other titles by White (The Patient’s Secret) are popular, may want to consider it, but most can skip.
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