Book Club: Thief of Joy is a nail-biter of a story, a slow burn at first

The Thief of Joy by Stacey MurrayThe Thief of Joy by Stacey Murray
The Thief of Joy by Stacey Murray
You probably know the feeling - you log onto social media and see pictures of people living lives you can only dream of: adventurous, exciting and oh so fabulous.

The FOMO (fear of missing out) kicks in and you’re left feeling a little bit hollow.

Most of us can shake it off, tell ourselves this is one person’s highly curated, polished presentation of a life, not reality, as we turn back to our messy house and pile of unfolded washing.

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Not so Roz, the woman at the heart of The Thief of Joy, a thriller by Hope Valley author Stacey Murray.

Roz very much cannot shake it off, and she’s driven to make increasingly unwise and desperate choices in pursuit of the sort of life she imagines others have.

The story begins as Roz receives some terrible news – her still-new boyfriend has died.

Her family and friends are not exactly sympathetic types, so she joins an online grief community in search of comfort.

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There Roz meets a man called Mark and they strike up a relationship – it’s no spoiler to say things don’t exactly go the way she hopes they will.

Her quest for the perfect relationship and substitute father for her daughter becomes a catalogue of cringe, then more sinister, as Mark shows his true colours.

Roz ignores red flag after red flag – until things spiral completely out of control.

The Thief of Joy is a nail-biter of a story, a slow burn at first.

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We wish we could jump into the pages and help steer Roz away from all her bad choices.

Then things ramp up as the situation becomes increasingly dangerous for Roz and her daughter.

The story is told entirely from Roz’s perspective, and Murray writes her well – she may have the world’s worst judgement and a tendency to put up with dreadful behaviour, but she sees the life with a healthy helping of cynicism and sarcasm that makes her a fun companion on this roller coaster ride.

The Thief of Joy is a tense thriller that cleverly taps into the comparison culture of life on social media, and some of our biggest insecurities.