Book Review: Painkiller by N. J. Fountain


The premise for this book was so intriguing, as soon as I read the blurb, I knew this was a book I had to read.

From the back cover:

I cannot go on like this. I feel such a burden to you. You are young and can start again. You deserve that chance. By the time you read this I will be dead. Do not grieve for me, for I am now without pain. Yours truly for ever, Monica.

Monica suffers from chronic neuropathic pain. Every second of her life is spent in agony, and she is coping with it the best she can. However, there are whole years of her life which are a blur to her.

But when she finds what appears to be her own suicide note, Monica begins to question everything. She has no memory of writing it – so who did? And if someone tried to kill her once, what’s to say they won’t try again…

My Thoughts:

Monica is in pain, constantly, every minute of every day, chronic, never-ending neuropathic pain; with a concoction of medication, she is able to function, barely. To touch – hurts, to lift – hurts, loud noises – hurt, bright lights – hurt, it hurts all the time, these are the good days. Sometimes the pain is agonising, so torturous, Monica cannot even get out of bed, she can do nothing but lie there, these are the bad days. This has been Monica’s life for the past five years. And if that wasn’t hellish enough, she has no memory of the past, just a suspicion that someone is trying to kill her.

Do you see now why I was so intrigued by this plot!? When was the last time, you met a character like Monica? Monica has a husband, but the relationship that is central in her life is her relationship with her pain. Narrated mainly by Monica, on one of her good days, she finds a suicide note that she doesn’t remember writing, the only way to reclaim her memories and get to the truth is to stop taking her pain medication – how cruel can life be!? You can’t help but empathise with Monica, she is a very likeable character, yes, she can be snappy at times – but so am I when I have a headache, let alone living with her level of pain! She’s happy, sad, angry, unsure yet determined and I loved her dark humour.

This book give you a well-researched and thorough insight into someone living with chronic pain; with each turning page, this story got better and better, it started off slow but you soon see the mystery forming. Monica’s pain is so intense, her brain is constantly registering it, with the side-effects of all the medication she’s taking, there’s no room for memories – making this a must read for fans of unreliable narrators. As the story progresses, it gets darker and the psychological elements really come into play. By the time you reach the twists and unpredictable moments, you’re hooked! I absolutely loved the last 70 or so pages of this book, the plot intensified tenfold and I really commend the author on this books ending – I didn’t predict it and it was so right for the plot.

I highly recommend this book for fans of psychological thrillers, particularly if you enjoy a slow burner.

*My thanks to Little, Brown Book Group for providing me with a copy of this book*

This book is available to buy now from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

13 thoughts on “Book Review: Painkiller by N. J. Fountain

    1. I do love the unreliable narrator angle, and studying mental health nursing, it was great to see in a fictional book how physical health problems impact your mental health. A great story and raising awareness too!

      Liked by 1 person

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