Andrew Sumner is living an unlucky life since the car crash that killed his parents and paralysed his sister. His latest misfortune comes in the form of a detached retina, but while at his last doctor’s appointment he meets Charlie, his ideal woman. A culmination of all the women who moulded his taste over the years: she’s gorgeous, she’s quirky, she’s impulsive, she’s everything Andrew is looking for in his life. He believes that his luck is finally turning. They begin an intense physical relationship but things soon become odd. Things go missing from his apartment and he is sure he is being followed. As someone starts to terrorise his friends, Andrew starts to wonder if Charlie’s jealous rages are more sinister than he first thought.
Mark Edwards’ Because She Loves Me is a story about obsession, jealousy and manipulation. It’s a story that many readers can relate to: an unstable relationship that you feel you can’t get out of. Andrew is so deeply infatuated with Charlie that he ignores the obvious problems in their relationship. Her jealousy could easily turn toxic, for him or for her. He ignores it to the point that people start to get hurt and the lives of his friends are threatened, some even ended. When he does start to become suspicious of her, he doesn’t act on it straight away. Edwards explores this kind of relationship well, grabbing the reader straight away and keeping your attention as you try to piece together what’s happening along with Andrew.
It’s a typical psychological thriller. There’s plenty of twists and turns to mess with the reader’s head and keep you guessing until the very end. But in a way, it’s a bit too typical. It’s as if Edwards had a formula for writing a good psychological thriller and he stuck to it. This doesn’t make it a bad book, it’s still an enjoyable read with plenty of entertainment value. It just seems a bit too conventional. Andrew is a conventional protagonist; an average guy who’s a bit down on his luck who meets the girl of his dreams. Charlie is a conventional ‘girl-of-his-dreams’; quirky, but not annoying, cute but not unapproachable. They’re likeable characters, they’re just a bit generic.
But despite its formulaic nature, the ending is definitely a surprise. Not necessarily for the right reasons, though. This is a good book until it’s not. The first 90% is interesting, it holds your attention, it has a good pace, everything unfolds nicely and your itching to turn the page and find out more. But the last 10% doesn’t match the quality of the rest. The ending isn’t as satisfying as you would hope and you’re left feeling like it was all a bit anticlimactic. That’s not to say the ending isn’t gripping. It’s well written and has you wondering what’s going to happen. But it just doesn’t match the tone and the standard of the rest of the book.
Because She Loves Me is an easy read, that’s enjoyable and worth a go. Just don’t be too disappointed if the ending doesn’t meet the expectations set up by the rest.