Wow, okay. After finishing Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn, I couldn’t breathe. I haven’t felt so excited and anxious and driven to finish a book before, and now that I have, I’m getting heart palpitations.
First and forthmost, a fair warning to everyone: don’t read the blurb for this book. Complicit, like Kuehn’s other book Charm and Strange, is a book that reveals itself and fleshes as the book progresses, and is best read with no knowledge of the book. Thankfully, I have little attention span and didn’t read the blurb until I finished the book. So to those who are interested in reading this book and are looking to be excited about it, don’t read the blurb.
Complicit is narrated by sixteen year old Jamie who lives a comfortable life in an affluent area with his parents. One night, he receives a mysterious phone call, and the following day, he finds out that his sister has been released from juvenile detention. From there on, the siblings’ pasts resurface and unfold. As per the epigraph, “For every truth best left is a lie”.
My first, most distinct thought after finishing was Complicit is that I just love Kuehn’s writing. I am amazed by how both Charm and Strange and Complicit crept up on me; it caught me off-guard, and as the book builds to its climax, I felt so thrilled. Throughout the book, there are clues and subtle hints littered everywhere, and they cannot be appreciated until you either re-read the book or go back and see the clues that you have missed. The way she introduces important details is so calculated and with such subtlety that you’ll be flicking through the book back and forth to re-read the parts that you missed (and you’ll be amazed by the amount you miss). Kuehn’s narratives are always so memorable and real. The way she brings them to life through their narrative and how she frames their understanding or perception of events or other individuals is so raw that they feel tangible and authentic. More so and very importantly, Kuehn’s portrayal of mental illness is deep and multifaceted, and as a Psychology student, I deeply, deeply appreciate that. Given that she is well-versed in clinical psychology, readers will not find stereotypical, superficial portrayals of mental illness or human behaviour in Complicit, but will find a portrayal that is sensitive and mindful (and just really amazing).
Similarly to my review of Charm & Strange, it is difficult talking about Complicit without spoiling important points of the book (which is a good reason why everyone should read it) so I will omit an analysis (furthermore, the book only released in June). What I will say, however, is that Complicit is engaging, meaningful and exciting from start to finish. More so, the end is incredible; it made me shudder and marvel and left me in awe (such a cacophony of emotions!). I honestly think this is the book that I will obsess about for the next couple of days or weeks. I recommend it to anyone interested in psychological thrillers or mysteries, or anyone simply looking for a good book.
Book Name: Complicit
Author: Stephanie Kuehn
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffins