I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Doctor by Lisa Stone
Published on June 24, 2019
Genres: Thriller, Fiction
Links: Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
When Emily and Ben move in next door to Dr Burman and his wife Anita, they are keen to get to know their new neighbours. Outgoing and sociable, Emily tries to befriend the doctor’s wife, but Anita is strangely subdued, barely leaving the house, and terrified of answering the phone.
When Emily goes missing a few weeks later, Ben is plunged into a panic. His wife has left him a note, but can she really have abandoned him for another man? Or has Emily’s curiosity about the couple next door led her straight into danger?
A gripping, sinister thriller with a twist you won’t see coming from the international bestseller Lisa Stone.
I’ll never trust a doctor again. Just kidding. Sort of. But seriously, The Doctor did not turn out to be the book I expected it to be. I was expecting a standard domestic thriller of some kind, but it evolved into something far darker and more convoluted than that.
I commend Lisa Stone for coming up with such a unique premise for a thriller. Though I have to wonder why the synopsis talked about “Emily going missing” when that doesn’t kick in until one of the later acts of the book, it’s a spoiler-y note to stick right in the book’s summary. Primarily because it doesn’t become an incentive or plot motivator until close to half-way through the story.
Speaking of, the third act of this book dragged on way too long for my liking. I don’t want to get into spoiler territory, but in regards to Emily’s kidnapping, the whole circus surrounding finding out what happened to her was repetitive and often involved characters being stupid for the sole purpose of extending the story.
The other aspect of this book I wasn’t too fond of was the primary antagonist, Amit. He was vile and misogynistic to the point of excess. His motivations didn’t feel strong enough because of his hatred for his wife. The Doctor isn’t my book and not my story to tell, but, I almost feel as if it would have been more interesting to make him a caring, increasingly desperate, man who spirals into madness because of his desire to save his wife.
Should you read The Doctor?
I think it depends on what you’re looking for in a thriller! If you want something with a refreshingly unique story, something you haven’t seen done a million times, then absolutely. The Doctor is riveting in its oddity and strangeness, and Stone is adept at weaving suspense into her storytelling.
It reminded me of an old-school R.L. Stine novel. I used to read them ALL the time as a kid and this book gave me some similar vibes. I mean that in a complimentary way! It does feel a little Frankenstein-y and deals with body horror. I liked that element. It should be classified as horror in addition to a thriller, in my opinion.
Once the story gets going, it’s hard to put the book down out of sheer desire to want to know how Amit, Alisha, and Emily’s journey will all play out. But if you’re expecting a more conventional thriller, then you might find yourself dissatisfied with the finished product.