What a relief then for weary fans of the genre to discover Flynn Berry, who writes thrillingly about women raging against a world that protects cruel and careless men. She’s less preoccupied by scenes of abuse than the psychological toll of its threat. Her protagonists seethe over their knowledge of violence and are fueled by a howling grief for its victims ... Berry proved in Under the Harrow that her prose can be as blistering as it is lush. Here, too, the writing is rich and moody, without any unnecessary fuss ... But there’s the occasional sound of gears grinding in Berry’s sophomore effort. Claire secures an unlikely accomplice too easily. She finds the final hasty pieces to her great life’s puzzle in one stolen browser history. And Berry’s decision to shift perspectives throughout the first two-thirds of the book, from Claire’s slightly unhinged present-day head to a third-person recounting of the past, messes with her momentum. But you do so want Claire to get her man, and the ending is as shocking as it is satisfying.
...the novel felt more like a rainy-day beach read than a standalone thriller. Although the book was interesting and well written, I had no gasps, no sharp intakes of breath, no amped-up pulse until late in the story when all was wrapped up ... Many novels focus on the elusive desire for closure and the need to answer questions as to why something happens. The cardinal sin in suspense novels is to leave the reader unsatisfied with the ending. In this case, Berry dots the requisite I’s and crosses all her T’s ... My misgivings about this book did not come from the plot or the excellent descriptions. I just needed more: Increase the tension in climactic scenes; allow the reader to feel how horrible it is to go to school with your father's face in the tabloids; and, for Claire, when closure comes, let us know it's worth it.
A Double Life features a somewhat protracted and shocking conclusion that will have nail-biters gnawing down to their nubs ... Bound to please Berry’s fans as well as followers of domestic-noir masters of the be-careful-what-you-wish-for tale, including Hallie Ephron, Gillian Flynn, and Paula Hawkins.
Berry is an expert at slow pacing, letting the characters’ tension gradually build to a boiling point, but that’s also a drawback. The mystery, and the characters, seems to lack true passion. By the time the climax comes around, the level of action and violence contradicts the tone of the rest of the novel ... The most fascinating side of the novel, implied but not openly developed, is that Claire’s obsession with her father leads her to make some pretty shady choices of her own, and she strongly believes that the end justifies the means ... A competent psychological mystery that lacks greater human resonance.