The Boy at the Door
by Alex Dahl
Publication Date : July 24, 2018
Pages : 386
Synopsis from Publisher :
Cecilia Wilborg has it all--a loving husband, two beautiful daughters, and a gorgeous home in an affluent Norwegian suburb. And she works hard to keep it all together. Too hard...
There is no room for mistakes in her life. Even taking home a little boy whose parents forgot to pick him up at the pool can put a crimp in Cecilia's carefully planned schedule. Especially when she arrives at the address she was given
and finds an empty, abandoned house...
There's nothing for Cecilia to do but to take the boy home with her, never realizing that soon his quiet presence and knowing eyes will trigger unwelcome memories from her past--and unravel her meticulously crafted life...
Over the past three months, I have read and listened to mostly police procedurals and serial killer thrillers. I had another serial killer thriller scheduled as my next read, but I was starting to feel a little burned out. I could feel a reading slump approaching. I decided to shake things up a little bit with a psychological thriller; I am so glad I did. The Boy at the Door was just what I needed. The Boy at the Door is a mind blowing, twisty tale of a woman who will stop at absolutely nothing to hang on to the things she holds most dear.
Cecilia Wilborg is living a dream life in the small, exclusive, and privileged town of Sandefjord Norway. With a kind and loving husband, two daughters, and a beautiful home, her life is one many would envy. Behind Cecilia’s mirage of wealth and happiness, is a women hanging on by a thread and weighed down by secrets. Secrets that could shatter her entire life and she has worked hard to maintain her secrets. One evening while attending one of her daughter’s swim meets, Cecilia is asked to take a little boy, Tobias home. It appears Tobias’ parents have forgotten to pick him up from the pool. When Cecilia arrives at Tobias’ home, no one is there and the house has been abandoned. She takes Tobias home with her and she very quickly becomes unsettled. Although Tobias is just a little boy, he seems to see through her facade of the happy mother and wife. Tobias’ arrival at the Wilborg home sets in motion a series of events which could unravel Cecilia’s carefully crafted world.
When I first started reading The Boy at the Door, I had certain assumptions of what kind of story it would be; these assumptions were completely wrong. This is what made The Boy at the Door so enjoyable for me. I thought the story would be more along the lines of a dangerous little boy invited into the home of an innocent family and the havoc which followed. Instead The Boy at the Door is a cautionary tale of no matter how much we bury the truth, the truth will out.
Cecilia Wilborg is a complicated character. I did not really decide how I felt about her until the very end of the story. The lies she tells and secrets she keeps are all to maintain her lifestyle, the money, the beautiful house, etc. However in my opinion what she values most is her ability to make others envy her and her image. After she tells a lie or does something questionable she then attempts to validate or justify her actions. She does this with the sole concern of what others will think. Cecilia’s main objective is to control the way others perceive her and this makes her unlikable.
Dahl uses diary entries to introduce readers to Anni. A drug addicted and troubled woman who has the power to disassemble Cecilia’s life. For me the most compelling element of the book was the wait to find out how Cecilia and Anni’s worlds collide. This aspect makes The Boy at the Door a story of suspense.
Dahl’s descriptions of Anni’s struggle with addiction are the most human and realistic of any book I have ever read in which drug abuse is discussed. Dahl depicts Anni as a person rather than an addict. Dahl displays sympathy and gives Anni a fairly normal childhood but places obstacles in her life with which I could relate. Many times I found myself wondering what I would do in Anni’s situation. I could clearly see how Anni managed to trap herself in a cycle of abuse and addiction, as well as how easy it can be to find yourself in a very bad situation.
Dahl has created a gripping and murky story which will take readers on an emotional roller coaster. The Boy at the Door has a strong sense of foreboding that will hook readers from the first page. Fans of Alice Feeney and Fiona Barton should add The Boy at the Door to their list of must reads.
**Thanks to Berkley for my free copy of The Boy at the Door**
Murder and Moore Rating :
4.5 out of 5 Stars