The Date: An unputdownable psychological thriller with a breathtaking twist (25 page)

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The Sister

"I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me ..."

Grace
hasn't been the same since the death of her best friend
Charlie
. She is haunted by Charlie's last words, and in a bid for answers, opens
an old memory box of Charlie's. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn't know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie's father,
Anna
, a girl claiming to be Charlie's sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend
Dan's
home.

But something
isn't right. Things disappear, Dan's acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace's mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie… or was there?

A compelling, gripping
psychological thriller perfect for fans of
The Girl on the Train, I Let You Go, and The Girl With No Past
.

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Also by Louise Jensen

A Letter from Louise

Dear Reader

Thank you so much for choosing to read
The Date
. If you enjoyed it, and want to keep up to date with all my latest releases, just sign up at the following link. Your email address will never be shared, and you can unsubscribe any time.

Firstly, a huge thank you for reading, reviewing, sharing and supporting my first three books. I can’t quite believe this is my fourth! The idea of
The Date
sprung from the unlikeliest of sources –
My Life
, a long-running CBBC documentary series featuring children with unique stories. Five years ago, my family and I watched an episode
featuring Hannah Read, a girl who acquired prosopagnosia at the age of eight after an infection caused inflammation of her brain. Hannah’s story was equally heartbreaking and inspiring. In one scene she was led into a room containing her family and friends but also some strangers. She walked around the room and studied each face intently and you could feel her panic as she was unable to identify anyone
she knew. Hannah was also shown a selection of photographs and became extremely upset that she couldn’t recognise her own picture. Hannah said she felt ‘cut off from the world around her’ and her anxiety whenever she left her house was palpable. The documentary makers introduced her to other teenagers with the condition, and a university carrying out a research project subsequently taught her
coping strategies. By the end of the programme Hannah felt less isolated and more positive, but her distress and her story stayed with me long after I switched off my TV. It is still with me. Imagine waking up one day in a world where everyone looked like a stranger? How utterly terrifying.

A year after watching, Hannah often crept into my thoughts. I knew I had to write a story about Face
Blindness. After I finished
The Sister
I started playing around with an opening, but I didn’t know what to do with it – there was almost too much scope – and so I put it to one side and wrote
The Gift
instead. The time came to write my third book and, instantly, I thought of Hannah again. I pulled out my notes and this time wrote the first 10,000 words and sent it to my editor. ‘How are you going
to progress it?’ she asked. I was at a loss to know how to sensitively approach a story surrounding a subject that had really touched me. Again, I put it to one side and, instead, wrote
The Surrogate
. By the time I’d finished my third book, my main character, Ali, had been brewing in the back of my mind for four years. I was determined to have another attempt. This time I felt more confident I
could write a pacy, unnerving thriller, but also stay true to the emotions and challenges faced by those who have prosopagnosia. I wanted Ali to show the same courage and determination that Hannah did.

I do hope you have enjoyed this story, and if you did I’d be very grateful if you could leave a review for
The Date
. I’d love to hear what you think, and it really does make a difference
helping readers discover my books for the very first time.

I adore hearing from readers. You can find me over at Facebook or Twitter or via my website, where I regularly blog flash fiction and writing tips.

Take care, Louise x

The Gift

The gripping psychological thriller everyone is talking about

Jenna
is seriously ill. She’s lost all hope of getting the heart transplant she needs
to live. But just as her life is ebbing away, she receives a donor heart from a girl called
Callie
. Who was Callie and how did she die? Jenna is determined to find out.

The closer Jenna gets to those who loved Callie, the more questions arise about her untimely death. Someone knows what happened to Callie. Why won’t they talk?

Jenna is about to uncover the truth, but it could cost her everything; her loved ones, her sanity, even her life.

A compelling, gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist from the author of the Number One bestseller
The Sister
.

The Surrogate

A gripping psychological thriller with an incredible twist

You know that feeling? When you want something so badly, you almost feel you’d kill for it?’

Be careful
what you wish for…

Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream.

But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets.

And there is more
to Lisa than meets the eye.

As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realises that she must face her fear of the past to save her family…

From the no. 1 bestselling author of
The Sister
and
The Gift
, this is an unputdownable psychological
thriller which asks how far we will go to create our perfect family.

Book Club Questions

  1. Before reading
    The Date
    , had you ever heard of Prosopagnosia (Face Blindness?) How hard do you think it would be to adjust to a loss of facial recognition?
  2. How did your perception of the characters change throughout the book?
  3. ‘I can see
    the ghost of our family picnicking. Mum stating if I ate my crusts my hair would curl; Iris promising everything would be ok. Those little white lies that bind a family together. The lies told to reassure. The lies we tell because the truth is just too ugly. Too cruel.’ If a lie is told with the best of intentions, is it forgivable?
  4. Who did you think was tormenting Ali?
  5. ‘I won’t
    find the sense of safety I was seeking here, among the secrets and lies and the tangled, torturous past. Stupid to ever think that I could.’ Did you feel Ali had managed to move on from her past until she went on her date?
  6. ‘You don’t want to go to the police, Ali. You’ve got blood on your hands.’ Could you empathise with Ali’s reluctance to talk to the police? What would you have done
    in her situation?
  7. Did any of the theories you formed throughout reading the story turn out to be correct?
  8. ‘In a desperate situation, are we all capable of monstrous acts? It’s incomprehensible we can reach inside the darkest depths of someone else’s mind, when we ignore the blackness lurking in our own.’ Can we ever really know someone properly? How well do we know ourselves?
  9. When Ali’s secret is revealed, how did you feel about her?
  10. What do you think the future will hold for Ali after the Epilogue?

Acknowledgements

I’m stunned to be writing the acknowledgments for my fourth book and once again it has taken a fabulous team to bring it to life. As always a big thank you to Lydia Vassar-Smith, without whom I might have been forever languishing in a slush pile. Thanks to all at
Bookouture, in particular to my editor Jenny Geras for her insight, along with Jennifer Hunt, and to Kim Nash and Noelle Holten for their publicity wizardry. Janette Currie for her copyediting skills. Another huge thank you to Cath Burke and the team at Sphere, Little, Brown for publishing my paperbacks. I’ve got cover lucky again with another fabulous design by Henry Steadman. A big thank you to
Rory Scarfe for your calming presence and all the agenty things you do behind the scenes.

I’m so thankful for all the amazing readers and writers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, both on and offline. You all brighten my day.

I’ve been incredibly moved and incredibly inspired by all the YouTubers vlogging their journey with MND. A heartfelt thank you for sharing your vastly different
experiences. I shall continue to tune in and cheer you on.

Thanks to Professor Daniel Lasserson for his neurology expertise and to Lisa Hardy for her input on police procedures. Any mistakes are entirely my own.

Mick Wynn, your input has been insightful as always. Symon Adamson for your continued support. Lucille Grant thanks for always being on hand. Emma Mitchell – I bloody love
you (and no I didn’t cut and paste that…).

To my friends who have supported me (and seen very little of me these past couple of years) in particular Sarah Wade, Hilary Tiney and Natalie Brewin – I treasure your friendship.

My family – I’m still here! Especially Mum, Karen, Bekkii Bridges and Pete Simmons.

Callum, Kai and Finley – you guys are growing far too quickly and I
am so ridiculously proud of you. (Finley, no animals were harmed in this book – a promise is a promise!).

This book has been an emotional write for me, thank you Tim for your love and support.

And Ian Hawley, are you watching?

Published by Bookouture

An imprint of StoryFire Ltd.

Carmelite House

50 Victoria Embankment

London EC4Y 0DZ

United Kingdom

Copyright © Louise Jensen, 2018

Louise Jensen has asserted
her
right to be identified as the author of this work.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publishers.

This book is
a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organisations, places and events other than those clearly in the public domain, are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

ISBN: 978-1-78681-485-2

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