Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

Author : Annie Ward
Title : Beautiful Bad
Pages : 368
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : March 21, 2019


Maddie and Ian’s romance began with a chance encounter at a party overseas; he was serving in the British army and she was a travel writer visiting her best friend, Jo. Now almost two decades later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in middle America. But when a camping accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending writing therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian’s PTSD, her concerns for the safety of their young son, Charlie, and the couple’s tangled and tumultuous past with Jo.

From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, 16 years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 9-1-1 call summons the police to the scene of a shocking crime.

But what in this beautiful home has gone so terribly bad? 


If you’re looking for a book full of damaged characters, then look no further. We’re not talking a wee baggage here but huge truckloads of it. In fact, these are probably some of the most damaged characters I’ve ever encountered.

Maggie and Ian first met decades ago at a party in the middle of the war ravaged Balkans. Maggie was a travel writer, visiting her best friend, and Ian was in the military. Now, they are married, parents to Charlie and living a seemingly perfect suburban life. Until a frantic call to 911. What happened behind closed doors?

These characters aren’t particularly likeable, nor could I find any way to relate to them. I luckily have no experience whatsoever with the situations they found themselves in throughout their lives but it was however relatively easy to imagine the impact certain events had on both Maggie and Ian. PTSD is not something to be underestimated and the author makes that very clear.

Admittedly, I found the first hundred pages or so rather on the slow side and I struggled quite a bit. I was in that place where I was just desperately waiting for something to happen. Fortunately, things did pick up a tad afterwards and despite my initial struggle, I’m glad I stuck with it because seeing the pieces come together was quite fascinating.

For me, this book comes in two parts. The first part being the one where most of the scene is set, the background into Maggie and Ian’s relationship and Maggie and Jo’s friendship, giving the reader the opportunity to see where these characters are coming from. This part was relatively slow-paced and read more like a drama than anything else. The aspect of what I define as a psychological thriller didn’t really appear until the second half of the book and this was definitely the part I enjoyed the most.

With multiple points of view, a lot of back and forth in time and intriguing characters there should be plenty here to grab your attention if you go in with an open mind. Slowly but surely you’ll discover the bad behind the beautiful and what really happened on “the day of the killing”.

Beautiful Bad is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Wordery

  15 comments for “Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

  1. March 22, 2019 at 10:35 am

    I love the cover, but the blurb doesn’t work for me!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. March 22, 2019 at 10:47 am

    I do like psychological suspense!😯

    Liked by 1 person

  3. March 22, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    Lovely review, Eva! I completely agree that it was more psychodrama than thriller. ♥️

    Liked by 2 people

    • March 27, 2019 at 10:50 am

      So glad to hear it wasn’t just me. I think I may have had another experience if I had known that from the start.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. March 22, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    I have this waiting for me on my kindle. Good review – very fair.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. March 22, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Eva, wonderful review of what seems to be a very complex story. It’s coming up soon for me on audio.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Yvo
    March 23, 2019 at 2:43 am

    Wonderful review! I think the slow start would bother me a little, but it’s good to know the second half makes up for it.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. March 23, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    Fab review! I’ve got to be in the right mood to read books with unlikable characters, otherwise I end up hating it and DNFing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • March 27, 2019 at 10:51 am

      They don’t often bother me. I suppose it depends on the rest of the storyline. Skin Deep by Liz Nugent has one of the most unlikeable characters EVER and I loved that book!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. ChrissiReads
    March 23, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    The most damaged characters? Oh my. That sounds intriguing. I’m not a massive fan of slower paces reads, so I think I’d have to be in the right mood to take this one on!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. March 24, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    Wow absolutely fabulous review. I love the sound of this book its right up my street. X

    Liked by 2 people

  10. March 24, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    Great review Eva. You’re right, these characters are so damaged! I normally like reading about those kind of individuals but sadly, their relationship just didn’t work for me. ☹️

    Liked by 2 people

    • March 24, 2019 at 9:34 pm

      I agree with you. There was really nothing that could make me believe these two would wait almost a decade for each other.

      Liked by 2 people

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