Friday, July 21, 2023

Book Review: The Nurse


By Sara Steven

Bullied, overlooked and under-appreciated, Lissa McColl learns at an early age to do very bad things. As a nurse, she is respected and valued for the first time in her life. But Lissa hates her job and the selfish, rude and inconsiderate people she has to deal with. But being underestimated in this job had its advantages. Lissa can get close to people, find out their secrets… sometimes with deadly results… (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

The very first line in The Nurse is bone chilling: "I was ten when I made the decision to kill Jemma."

I mean, that sentence really sets the tone for the rest of the story, giving the reader the perfect glimpse into Lissa and her psyche. As the synopsis indicates, Lissa has been bullied for most of her life. And when she attempts to get some support from home, she is faced with an absent father and a mother who pulls away from Lissa when he’s gone. She has lived a lifetime of trying to survive as best she can, faced with insurmountable obstacles, particularly for someone so young.

Life has made her hard. It has made her distrustful. And, even though there is a lot of baggage where her mother is concerned, she feels she must do everything she can for her. If that means committing crimes, so be it. The way Lissa reflects and internalizes–it is as though her thoughts are mundane. Even though they are far from that. She might mention the bus ride to work, or what it’s like when she secures a tiny studio apartment, and then the next line or two focuses on her intent to break into someone’s home, or on the sharp knives she has in the tiny kitchen in that tiny studio apartment, as if it’s no big deal. As if it’s completely common. It was an intriguing way to lessen the severity of a character and their internal workings, to where the reader has no choice but to want to rally for Lissa, regardless of her motives.

Lissa feels she is an expert in seeing the ugly in others, as much as she can see the ugly within herself. Yet, can she really? Maybe she’s not as ugly as she thinks she is, which muddies her point of view and the way she sees the world. 

The word that comes to mind to best describe this quiet thriller is “smooth.” In the same way that Lissa’s intentions have been made common, so are the moments leading up to anticipatory danger. It makes it so the reader has no real idea as to whether something bad is going to happen, smoothly done in such a way so that it is even more scary. It’s the not knowing that can really be the scariest moments of all. I really enjoyed The Nurse, a definite five-star read!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Amazon UK * Apple

Valerie Keogh is the internationally bestselling author of several psychological thrillers and crime series, most recently published by Bloodhound. She originally comes from Dublin but now lives in Wiltshire and worked as a nurse for many years. Her first thriller for Boldwood was published in August 2022.

Visit Valerie online:

Sign up for Valerie's newsletter.

Visit all the stops on Valerie's blog tour:

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.

Listen to this book on Speechify!

No comments: