Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward
Book Reviews,  Bookish

Beautiful Bad

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Beautiful Bad is the story of two damaged people in a relationship that’s ready to implode.


Annie Ward

Beautiful Bad

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Publisher: Park Row
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Length: 368 pages

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There are two sides to every story… And every person. Maddie and Ian’s love story began with a chance encounter at a party overseas, while 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; her concerns for the safety of their young son; 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, sixteen years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 911 call summons the police to the scene of a shocking crime.


Ok, I know what you’re thinking… Uhm, Sawyer this isn’t a romance novel. You’re not wrong, it’s not romance. There was nothing romantic about this. Maddie and Ian certainly don’t have a relationship anyone should aspire to be a part of.

However, at its heart, this is a story about love. The love between parents and their child, romantic love, and even the love shared between the best of friends. It’s a story of the lengthy love will take someone to protect and provide for those they care about.

Spanning several years and fluctuating between several points of view and transitioning between from various points in the past and present this books will take you on a wild ride. It’s a roller coaster of emotions. Full of twists and turns you will never see coming.

Let me tell you a bit about this. I don’t review a lot of psychological thrillers and I don’t want to say too much and end up spoiling anything. This story was expertly crafted and intricately woven, it will leave you feeling empty and speechless.

I had one really big problem with this book. It’s one of those things that would typically lead to me slamming the book closed and leaving a ranting one-star review. Not even 50% in I had the review written, marked the book as DNF on Goodreads. But I found myself curious and drawn into the story as much as I hated what certain inclusions, I needed to know how it ended.

You want to know what the problem was, don’t you? Well, the first 50% of the book features multiple instances of animals dying. Being shot, poisoned, etc… Few things make me as upset as animals being hurt, especially willfully. The worst part is, I don’t feel like those instances added anything to the story. Shock value maybe, but the book was strong enough to stand on its own.

I wish I had known this book included these things because I never would have attempted to read it and as good as the story was, it’s not worth the images of a dog being shot or a cat and her kittens being poisoned that I can’t seem to get out of my head.

Sadly, that’s what I’m going to remember about this book. Not the twists and turns, the ending that left me shocked and speechless or the eerily accurate description of living with someone suffering from PTSD. I’m going to remember the parts that didn’t need to be a part of the story and that is entirely unfortunate.

So, the story as a whole deserves 5 stars. However, the poor animals have me wanting to give this book 1 star. In the interest of compromise, this book will get 2.5 /5 from me but I’ll round it up to 3.

Overall, Beautiful Bad was a story I won’t soon forget. With twists and turns a’plenty it’s a book you won’t be able to put down. I would recommend it for anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers.

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