Beautiful Bad

Beautiful Bad

by Annie Ward


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“Filled with unexpected twists, Beautiful Bad is a riveting read.” —Sarah Pekkanen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of An Anonymous Girl

“The ending will leave you staggered.” —Liv Constantine, bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish

In the tradition of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train comes the psychological thriller everyone is talking about, a twisted novel about a devoted wife, a loving husband, and a chilling crime that will stun even the cleverest readers.

There are two sides to every story… And every person.

Maddie and Ian’s love story began with a chance encounter at a party overseas, while 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; her concerns for the safety of their young son; 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780778369103
Publisher: Park Row Books
Publication date: 03/05/2019
Edition description: Original
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 44,993
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

ANNIE WARD has a BA in English Literature from UCLA and a MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute. Her first short screenplay, Strange Habit, starring Adam Scott was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and the Grand Jury Award winner at the Aspen Film Festival. She has received a Fulbright Scholarship and An Escape to Create Artists residency. She lives in Kansas with her family.

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Beautiful Bad 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Anonymous 9 months ago
This is a disturbingly dark, beautiful twisty psychological thriller. Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward is a novel about an accident, a marriage and a murder. It’s a harrowing, pulse-pounding novel that kept me on the edge of my seat, up reading late into the night and guessing until the very end of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. Book Synopsis: Maddie and Ian’s love story began with a chance encounter at a party overseas, while 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; her concerns for the safety of their young son; 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.
Anonymous 10 months ago
I really could not put this book down!
Anonymous 9 days ago
Not the best book I have ever read, but it was good, The ending did take me by surprise. So while sometimes tedious, and the back and forth in time by chapters which kept you on your toes, the ending was worth it. Might make a good story. JDL 7/14/19
Anonymous 20 days ago
A real page turner right until the end!
Sharon_Arundel 20 days ago
This book is one that you have to pay attention to whilst reading it due to the time jumps, it’s not my favourite way of telling a story but when done well it really works and can be enjoyable to read. For the most part I think this author is able to write these jumps in time quite well, but it still makes it difficult to follow if you are not paying attention. I like how the characters seem like everyday people, they have flaws, they make good choices and bad choices. The plot is very interesting and takes place all over the world over a time span of about 20 years, in that time a lot can happen to a person and a family. If you are looking for a good book to read with lots of twists and turns, then you have found it in this one.
toReadistoEscape 3 months ago
This was a very engaging psychological thriller. I enjoyed the way it starts with the police arriving on the crime scene and then you flip back and forth in time to piece together what happened. I loved the storyline but felt some of the main character's decisions could have been supported with a deeper storyline. It was hard to understand why Maddie would wait for Ian for so long. I just didn’t feel much of a connection between them. Ian’s character was not well developed. As soon as I started liking him the author would have him do or say something to ruin that connection for me. I received this galley from NetGalley.
denise66 5 months ago
This was a book I received free for a review. I thought this was a very interesting book. Maddie and Ian are married with son Charlie. Diane Varga is a police officer who responds to a call at their house but it is silent with blood on the floor. What happened in this house? The story then goes back to when maddie and her friend Jo meet Ian and what has happened up to the point of something happening in this house. You are taken through Maddie's life and her anxiety and meeting with her counselor. Quite a good read with twists and turns.
JulieB 5 months ago
Loved every bit of this dark and delicious tale! My thoughts: Thank you to Annie Ward and Harlequin-Park Row Books for this ARC, in exchange for my honest review. With it’s lovely cover and description, I had high expectations. I was not disappointed! The book grabbed my attention with the cover and kept me hooked until the very last page. If I hadn’t had prior commitments , I could have devoured it in one sitting! Maddie—We watch her transform from an adventurous and carefree young woman into an anxiety-ridden wife and mother. She couldn’t wait to leave her home in rural Kansas for somewhere more exciting. Her dream lands her in NYC, with a writing/teaching career, and then overseas as a travel writer. During her travels, she meets and instantly becomes best friends with Jo. Jo is presented as an outspoken, opinionated and carefree party girl. One of those friends that can get you in a lot of trouble. Maddie visits her frequently—in war-torn and volatile places—and joins in the partying. It’s on one of those visits that Maddie meets Ian and is instantly infatuated. He is a British soldier, full of life, with a girlfriend and a lot of secrets. It takes years for them to establish a relationship, but when they do, it’s intense and unstable....a lot like Ian. We get a well-developed picture of his PTSD, the horrible places he’s been and the gruesome things he’s seen—which turn him into the fearful and withdrawn husband and father he becomes. The book starts off with “The Day of the Killing” and then shifts between several timelines and the main characters all lead us through the same story, but with different POV’s and twists. I’ve had problems following this type of storyline in the past, but not with this book. I was frantically trying to figure out who was telling the real story. This would be a great book club book to discuss with others! Ward’s writing is beautiful and hypnotizing! She has become one of my favorite authors. Recommend: Yes! My Rating: 5 ⭐️’s Published: March 5th 2019 by Park Row Pages: 368 #NetGalley #mustreadthriller @_Annie_Ward @parkrowbooks Book Blurb 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.
Danimae1981 7 months ago
Beautiful Bad is a psychological thriller with a sense of suspense. Right from the beginning you know that someone dies, but you don’t know who or what has happened. From there we follow 3 timelines: Maddie and Ian’s story over the years before the killing, Maddie’s point of view and sessions with a therapist the months/weeks before the killing, and Diane, a police officer’s, point of view after the call to 911 was made on the day of the killing. It is definitely a book that keeps you wondering and thinking throughout with some surprises along the way. The “present day” timeline really captured me, but honestly I thought some of the timeline about the past was a little longer than I would have liked. I did predict the main twist in the story, though there were other parts that managed to surprise me. I never really found that I loved any of the characters in the story, and by the end there were definitly ones that I hated - I think this is part of the reason that I didn’t like the book more. I received a free ARC copy of this book through NetGalley, but my review is voluntary and not influenced by that.
Anonymous 8 months ago
A twist I didn't see coming! Now I know the "bad" in Beautiful Bad. Recommend.
lsmoore_43 8 months ago
This book started out great for me. It held my interest from the call to 911 and I looked forward to finding out what happens, but about halfway through it just started feeling like something was missing. I love books that are told from several views and different timelines. I learn a lot from those but I lost interest for a long period. To me the thriller aspect fell short. I think the author did a great job as far as descriptives and going back and forth with characters and times. I like some of the characters. There was just something that fell short. That is the only way I know to describe it. Thank you to NetGalley for this copy in exchange for my honest review. I give it 3.5 stars and will try this author again. I also recommend others try it for themselves. It just was not what I expected.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Anonymous 9 months ago
jeni-b 9 months ago
I always enjoy debut novels. There is an excitement of the unknown without expectations that is thrilling. BEAUTIFUL BAD is an exceptional debut psychological thriller. Ward articulates the genuine issues of the aftermath of modern-day war and PTSD with an ending that leaves the reader stunned. Thank you, NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an early copy of BEAUTIFUL BAD. I look forward to reading more from Annie Ward. ~jeni b~
Momma_Becky 9 months ago
Beautiful Bad has an interesting premise, and it starts with a 911 call that certainly grabs the attention of the reader. Unfortunately, the story quickly spiraled downward from there, at least for me. Part of that lays in the many tools used here that have been done and done again. We have the unreliable narrator, and we're spoon fed the back stories of the characters as the timeline jumps from distant past to more recent past and back again with tidbits of the day the 911 call is placed. The story is quite wordy, much more so than necessary. For me, there were whole chunks of story in the middle that could easily have been left out without hurting the book as a whole. Those chunks made for a lot of lagtime that I could've done without. I also had some problems with the relationships between the characters in that I just didn't buy them. Nothing of real substance happens between Maddie and Ian in the beginning to warrant traveling halfway round the world after years have passed, and the friendship between Maddie and Jo seems pretty shallow for most of the book. I didn't see anything between these women to believe the amount of trust they have later in the story. There are some interesting twists in the end, but most are too predictable, and the one really good one at the very end just wasn't enough to save this for me. I once heard that no two people read the same book, and I realize that I'm in the minority on this book, so take it for what it's worth. For me, the story just didn't live up to its potential.
JHSEsq 9 months ago
Maddie and Ian’s love story began with a chance encounter at a party overseas. Maddie was a travel writer visiting her best friend, Jo. Ian, a former member of the military, worked as a private security consultant, traveling around the world to provide his services. His work was dangerous and secretive, but after he started his own company with his brother, extremely lucrative. Maddie and Ian's paths cross at various times as the years pass. Eventually, he comes to New York to visit her. His erratic behavior should have provided Maddie insight into his psyche. Did she choose to ignore the warning signs? Now it is almost two decades later. Maddie and Ian have married and relocated to Maddie's Kansas hometown, along with their beautiful son, Charlie. By all appearances, they are enjoying a perfect suburban life until Maddie sustains a disfiguring injury during a camping trip. Was it an accident? Or did something sinister occur? Unable to focus or concentrate, Maddie's parents help her care for Charlie, and she begins undergoign writing therapy. Through the writing assignments her therapist assigns her, she reveals her fears about Ian, concern for Charlie's safety, and their tumultuous past with Jo, from whom she has been estranged for years. However, she misses Jo and wants to reconcile with her. As the story opens, there has been a killing. The police respond to a residence and discover blood, a knife, and a small, frightened child hiding upstairs. The narrative alternates time periods -- from the present-day as the police explore the residence to determine what has transpired to Maddie's revelation of the details of her relationship with Ian, as well as the dissolution of her friendship with Jo. Author Annie Ward has devised a complex mystery, told from various viewpoints and time frames, that gradually reveals the volatile nature of Maddie and Ian's relationship, but does not prepare readers for the shocking conclusion to the story. The crime that the the police are called to investigate is shocking, but even as the identity of the victim is revealed, Ward has much more in store for her readers. The story is fast-paced, intriguing, and full of surprising twists and turns. Ward cleverly compels the story forward with expertly-timed clues as to whether Maddie is a reliable narrator, as well as whether Ian is truly the man he appears to be based upon Maddie's explanation of their history. But the conclusion will leave readers stunned. Ward succeeds at delivering on the book's premise: "There are two sides to every story. . . . And every person." Thanks to NetGalley for an Advance Reader's Copy of the book.
Anonymous 10 months ago
This review is on a book by Haylen Beck entitled "Here and Gone". The book was excellent, well written and hard to put down. It started with a Mother of two young children running away from an abusive husband whom she had divorced a few years before. Her trip to another State resulted in her spending time in jail, losing her children and only a mother could fully understand how hard she fought to get those children back. The book kept me up all night; so mystery readers - buy this one. You won't regret it.
sspea 10 months ago
This book opens with a frantic 911 call., You know someone is dead, but you don't know who died or how they died. This book flips back and forth between a few characters and timelines, from the early 2000's to the present day. Slowly counting down to the day of the killing. This book was gripping. I read it in less than 24hours. Most mystery/thriller books start the same way, with a mystery that only gets solved at the end. But for some reason, maybe because this mystery was SO vague, I could not stop reading till I knew what was happening. I think this would be a great book club book, because not only is it a fast and easy read, not only does it have a great mystery to solve, but it also touches on some pretty dark subjects that would make for some great discussions.
TheLifeofaBookAddict 10 months ago
It all started with an emotional 911 phone call and a visit by the police to a quiet well-manicured neighborhood... Beautiful Bad had a really good beginning that grabbed my attention. I would consider this book to be more of a slow burn suspense/thriller story. The book is told mainly from Maddie’s point of view along with Ian’s POV jumping in here and there as the book progresses. Maddie was an interesting character to get to know; though I couldn’t really connect with any of the characters. That’s probably the point with a book like this. My only major complaint was that there were times when I questioned why Maddie and Ian were even together. I didn’t really believe in their love story. Aside from that, I thought that Beautiful Bad was well written and the author did a good job of building suspense and creating intriguing characters. I liked how the story flip-flops between the past and the present; before the incident and after the incident; which helped to draw the suspense out. I thought I pretty much had it all figured out on how everything would end. I was right about some things, but there were a couple surprises and twists at the end that I hadn’t expected. RATING: 3½ out of 5. **Even though I received this book on behalf of the Publisher, the thoughts & opinions expressed are solely my own.**
SilversReviews 10 months ago
Maddie and Joanna had been friends since they met in Spain. What happened, though? Joanna and Maddie have lost touch, Maddie married Ian, and now we come upon a 911 call as the first page of BEAUTIFUL BAD opens. We follow from when Maddie meets Ian overseas and when Ian and Maddie are married. The chapters are labeled in years as well as weeks before the 911 call. As you read, subtle hints were given to the underlying tension and the situations that caused everything to fall apart and turn into murder. Joanna seemed pretty volatile, jealous, and dangerous. Ian seemed to have some problems with women, had secrets, and seemed dangerous. Fiona seemed as if she could fly off the handle for any reason. She was also jealous of Ian. Maddie seemed to be the weak character and the most gullible, or was she? So many characters to wonder who made the 911 call and who the attacker was. The BEFORE-the-day-of-the-killing chapters weren't that interesting to me even though they were the lead up to everything. There are some frightening situations throughout the book including details of the 911 scene, bizarre happenings, and abuse. If you enjoy a many-chapter wait for the final scene, BEAUTIFUL BAD will be a book you will enjoy. The ending did turn out to be a surprise. BEAUTIFUL BAD was good, but I wasn't wanting to rush back to it. 3.5/5 This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via BookishFirst in exchange for an honest review.
Laeljeanne 11 months ago
Maddie fell hard for Ian, British security detail, when she taught English in Bulgaria and her BFF Joanna was a humanitarian working in Macedonia before and during their civil war. He’s hard to pin down, even after she marries him despite Joanna’s inexplicable hostility toward him. He insists on moving from NYC to her small, Kansas hometown, though he spends much of his time in the Eastern bloc, working in a security business he started with his brother after leaving his government position. The story unfolds in layers as it goes back and forth in time and around the globe to explain the horrible murder. Ward does an excellent job evoking sympathy for Maddie, who appears to be on the receiving end of Ian’s PTSD. This novel portrays young American idealists who get caught up in tragedy, differences in maturity levels of best friends, and how lack of self-awareness contributes to obfuscation, as a mismatched romance leads to its horrifying conclusion. I was fortunate to receive this brilliant story from the publisher Park Row Books through NetGalley.
Persephonereads 11 months ago
3.75 stars I would first like to thank Netgalley and Park Row Books for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. We first meet Maddie as a desperate voice at one end of a 911 call. As the story progresses we bounce back and forth between Maddie's first person POV to the third person POVs of her husband Ian and the first responding officer to the 911 call. Told from the early 2000's to present day we follow the complicated relationship of Maddie,Ian and her best friend Joanna all over the world. As we begin to fit the puzzle pieces together to discover what happened we also have a countdown to the event starting ten weeks prior. There is a lot of strong parts to the book. I loved the countdown, seeing what was happening in Maddie's life as she worked through the repercussions of an accident that has left half of her face scarred and her memories of the night that it happened blurry at best. Suffering from a brain injury she is not feeling at al like herself and is questioning if she is losing her mind. The biggest weakness I found in this novel is that seemed to be all over the place. Often there was so much going on that I felt a bit of an overload. I am a reader that enjoys many different characters and many POVs as well as a good journey along the way. The problem was that sometimes the journey actually got in the way. Though things did end up coming together in the end it still felt as if too much was going on and if a few bits and pieces had been cut the book would have ended up as a 4.5 to maybe even a 5 star for me. As it is now I would have to give it 3.75 stars. The characters are all interesting and flawed which is the way I like my characters in a psychological thriller and is definitely a good read. Just be prepared for a little bit of an overload. In the end the bones of this novel are great and I do recommend it.
bamcooks 11 months ago
This thriller engaged me right from page one. It is the story of Maddie, a young mother living in the far south suburbs of Kansas City, who has twice survived life-threatening accidents and has the scars, both mental and physical, to prove it. She is married to Ian Wilson, a British soldier of fortune who has spent more than his share of time in war-torn, unstable countries and has seen some pretty horrifying things. He says now he just wants to live in peace and quiet with his family. But does he? Can he leave the violence of his job experiences behind? The story is told in various timelines centering around 'the killing': there is 'weeks before the killing', 'day of the killing', 'day after the killing' etc, but intermixed in this is the backstory of how Maddie and Ian met in Macedonia in 2001 and much later, become a couple. Most chapters are told from Maddie's first person pov but I noticed a few times when it switched to third person omniscient pov, I suppose so the reader would better understand the entire picture. Maddie's best friend is Joanna Jasinski. They met while teaching in Spain and have been inseparable while working various jobs throughout Europe until Ian comes into their lives. And always lurking on the fringes is Ian's crazy bipolar ex-girlfriend who still sends him sexy selfies. So as one reads this thriller, one is constantly wondering who is going to be killed and by whom? The answer to that may surprise you. Nicely done! I received an arc of this new thriller from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks for some enjoyable reading.
Amanda_Dickens 11 months ago
When I finish reading a book but before I write my review I like to read what other thought of it. Currently the book has a 3.8 in Goodreads which is a very respectable rating. The reviews are also very positive. I feel that I must have read a different book. I was not attached to any of the characters and they were all unlikable. The relationships all seemed toxic from the beginning and none of the actions of the characters shocked me like I think the author intended. The pacing was painfully slow at times and I questioned why a lot of it was even in the book. It did not prgress the plot or build any of the charters. The foreshadowing felt heavy handed. The jumping between characters and time lines was just an added headache to the book. I do feel that the story was more original than most book in this genre but it could have been done better in my opinion. BUT I clearly do not share the same option as other reviewers and you may love this books so give it a go.