Review: Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward


Release date: March 5, 2019

Publisher: Park Row

Genre: Mystery/Thriller


Things that make me scared: When Charlie cries. Hospitals and lakes. When Ian drinks vodka in the basement. ISIS. When Ian gets angry… That something is really, really wrong with me.

Maddie and Ian’s romance began with a chance encounter at a party overseas; he was serving in the British army and 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’s PTSD; her concerns for the safety of their young son, Charlie; 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.


I’m a sucker for a strong start to a thriller, the kind that grabs you instantaneously and makes you want to know more and this one had exactly that. After a brief chapter where Maddie is contemplating therapy, you switch to a police officer who is called to a quiet, family home where something awful has happened but all you know is there’s blood and it’s now referred to as the day of the killing. Aren’t you just dying to find out more?! I sure was and my interest was maintained throughout.

After that shocking opening hook the book flips back and forth between twelve weeks earlier as Maddie begins therapy and then ten years earlier to when her and Ian first met. All along I kept wondering how such a young, happy couple would end up with someone dead ten years later and as more pieces of their complicated relationship were unveiled I was always guessing who was dead and more curiously, why?! Domestic suspense always engages me and I couldn’t get past the idea of this enigmatic couple taking such a sharp downward dive, it was crazy!

Besides a throughly engrossing plot, the use of setting was strong as well and brought a sense of excitement and danger to an already dark storyline. This is a thriller with deep psychological exploration, the author has an evident knowledge of PTSD and the terrible ramifications of it and I found it both eye opening and fascinating. While there are some solid twists along the way, what makes this one a standout is the keen insight into a troubled marriage and the deep exploration into the psychology of people suffering from trauma. Recommended for fans of domestic suspense that are looking for something unique, it’s not your typical suburban thriller.

Beautiful Bad in three words: Explosive, Authentic and Chilling.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

5 thoughts on “Review: Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

  1. Sara Strand says:

    Ooohh.. I have to read this one. I’m completely intrigued by this especially since it sounds like a nice neighborhood, quiet and nice neighbors… with all kinds of things happening behind the door. Thanks for being on the tour!

    Sara @ TLC Book Tours

    Liked by 1 person

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