Life Coach Magazine

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

By Debi Lantzer @debiL1611

Beautiful Bad by Annie WardBeautiful Bad by Annie Ward
Published by Park Row on March 5, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Military, Psychological, Thrillers
Pages: 368
Format: ARC, eBook
Buy on Amazon


In the most explosive and twisted psychological thriller since The Woman in the Window, a beautiful marriage turns beautifully bad.

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.

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

Beautiful Bad opens with a chilling 911 emergency call in Meadowlark, a small town in Kansas. When the investigator arrives to the scene in an upscale neighborhood, he discovers lots of blood – and exactly who belongs to that blood is one of the main threads of the story. The reader doesn’t find out until the end what exactly happened in this seemingly beautiful house.

Readers then go back to ten weeks prior to the murder where we meet Maddie who has recently suffered a head injury, is in therapy, and cannot remember how she was even injured.  Maddie’s husband, Ian, has given Maddie the story that she slipped and fell, but somehow the police believe domestic violence was involved.  Maddie tries to stay focused on discovering things through her writing, trying to work through her fears – including anything that might hurt her son, Charlie. Maddie knows she needs to go back before the time of her injury, before she was paralyzed by fear so she can understand her current feelings.

And then flash back to ten years earlier when Maddie was a travel journalist on assignment when she and Joanna become great friends. They both meet Ian there and Maddie is in awe  he’s the typical tall, dark and handsome, mysterious guy that girls love.  He also has a girlfriend so of course, Maddie falls for him.

Beautiful Bad is told from multiple points of views and it covers many different timelines – I almost felt like it was just too much at some points but overall, this was a fantastic thriller to read – and believe me, I’ve been reading a zillion of them lately!  I’ll admit that I did guess the ending, but I promise it took nothing away from enjoying the story. The suspense and anxiety kept notching up page after page, keeping me glued to this book cover to cover.

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward Annie received a BA in English Lit with an emphasis in Creative Writing from UCLA and an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute. While studying at AFI, she sold her first short screenplay to MTV/ BFCS Productions. Starring Adam Scott, STRANGE HABIT became a Grand Jury Award Winner at the Aspen Film Festival and a Sundance Festival Official Selection.

After film school, Annie moved to Eastern Europe to work for Fodor Travel Guides, covering regions of Spain and Bulgaria. She remained in Bulgaria for five years spanning a civilian uprising and government overthrow. The novel THE MAKING OF JUNE, which Annie wrote with the Bulgarian revolution and Balkan crisis as its backdrop was sold to Penguin Putnam and published to critical acclaim in 2002.

During Annie’s five years in the Balkans she received a Fulbright Scholarship, taught at the University of Sofia, and script doctored eight screenplays for Nu-Image, an Israeli/American film company that produced a number of projects in Bulgaria for the SyFy Channel. She was later the recipient of an Escape to Create artist residency.

She lives in Kansas City, Kansas with her family.

Connect with Annie on social media ~~


I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from Park Row Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for my review.  A positive review was not required and my views are my own.

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