Everything You Do is Wrong
by Amanda Coe
Amanda Coe is a bestselling novelist with an affinity for psychological thrillers: her previous book was the splendid Getting Colder (2014). She is also a screenwriter: her most recent credit was the adaptation of Louise Doughty’s Apple Tree Yard (2013).
Combining her gift for narrative and dialogue, Everything You Do is Wrong begins in near-gothic gloom: “Black on grey. Birds like black filings swooped across the sky by a magnet.” The chilling end is: “I’m going to die. I’ll die then.” We assume this voice belongs to the unknown woman washed ashore, naked and seemingly dead, in the first chapter. She is discovered by Mel, mother of three and aunt to Harmony Ansholm, who is having a maths tutorial as the action starts. Although the woman is alive, she isn’t saying much – to the point that she is given the name Storm in the hospital.
As Coe’s cast rearranges itself around the mysterious arrival, the reader is desperate to uncover Storm’s backstory – and those haunting opening words. The twist is sharply achieved, but Coe aims higher than your average thriller in this smart parable about women struggling to survive the modern world.