Books of the year 2011: Jon Snow

Before I Go to Sleep - S J Watson


S J Watson's Before I Go to Sleep (Doubleday, £12.99) is an eerie, suspense-strewn book that dwells in the mind of a woman who has suffered a traumatic incident in her twenties, leading to the loss of her memory. She awakens every morning convinced she is still that age and mystified by the presence of a strange man in her bed. Now 47, she has to discover each day that this is Ben, her husband of 20 years. Her psychiatrist persuades her to keep a journal - its first words are: "Don't trust Ben." Written by a man, this novel is a remarkable achievement. It suffers from a hurried ending that Ridley Scott will have to resolve when he makes the film.

I was consumed, too, by Robert Harris's even more filmic, and at least as psychological, The Fear Index (Hutchinson, £18.99). It is a fast and thrilling novel utterly of our time - algorithmic conjuring, greed and financial terror, and a blitzkrieg of a climax.

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