Alice Feeney | Rock Paper Scissors

rock paper scissors alice feeney

The Book: 

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney
Published September 7, 2021 by Flatiron Books
Date read: September 27, 2021

The Characters: 

Adam and his wife Amelia

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buy it on | Amazon

The Plot (from Goodreads):

Think you know the person you married? Think again…

Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife.

Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts – paper, cotton, pottery, tin – and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.

Click here for book spoilers for Rock Paper Scissors
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Rock Paper Scissors, I suggest you turn back now.

The Twist:

Amelia is not the one writing the letters. It’s actually Adam’s first wife: Robin. The letters were just signed “your wife”, which I immediately picked up on. In the letters, Amelia is the woman that Adam cheated with. She changed her appearance to look like Robin to steal Adam from her.

Robin is Henry Winter’s daughter, which Adam never knew. The chapel they are staying in is Henry’s old house. He passed away two years ago, unbeknownst to anyone except Robin. Robin wrote his last book and arranged for Adam and Amelia to come stay at the chapel.

Robin writes one more letter to Adam that she intends for him to read, in which she outs Amelia’s past. Amelia was a child delinquent who was arrested in the car that killed Adam’s mother. Robin gives Adam the option to return to their life together if he walks away from Amelia, but threatens Amelia if he doesn’t.

Robin locks Adam and Amelia inside and gives Adam the last letter. Adam is understandably upset that Amelia never told him who she was. They fight and Amelia tries to kill him, but Robin appears and kills her with her mother’s scissors.

The Ending:

Robin, Adam, and Bob live happily ever after. Bob was Robin’s dog from before their divorce (I’m shocked she left him behind when she left Adam…I absolutely would take my dog!). Robin and Adam continue to publish books under Henry Winter’s name.

The twists aren’t over yet: we find out that Adam was actually the one driving and that ran over his mother. He was angry with her for entertaining gentleman guests, and met Amelia. She talked him into a joy ride, he hit his mother, and Amelia took the blame.

Henry had hired a PI to follow Robin, and the PI was never made aware of Henry’s death. When he gets concerned because he hasn’t heard from Henry in a long time, he goes to Scotland to talk to Henry himself. He finds Amelia’s severed finger on top of Henry’s grave. (This felt unresolved…wouldn’t he report both deaths?).

The Review: 

I’ve loved ⅔ of Alice Feeney’s backlist (His and Hers and Sometimes I Lie), so I was extremely excited to receive an early review copy of Rock Paper Scissors.

The story is told through three POVs: Adam, his wife Amelia, and Robin, as well as through letters to Adam from his wife. I’m a big fan of the remote winter getaway as a setting, especially in a closed-room or semi-closed-room situation.

Overall, I do think this one lived up to my expectations. The plot unfolded at a really good pace. I was on my toes the whole time trying to guess what was happening–I love a thriller where I’m fully engaged with the plot. I was able to guess some of the twists but not all of them.

These characters are all flawed and I didn’t necessarily like any of them, but I don’t think it detracted from my enjoyment of the story. I think part of reading thrillers is getting to hate all these awful people doing interesting-if-questionable things!

I loved how their dog Bob was used to further the plot! The dog is always my favorite character. The face blindness was an interesting device as well: I’ve seen it on shows like Criminal Minds, but this was a new thriller book theme for me.

I do think there were a couple of plot holes (disclaimer: I read an advanced copy so these may have been fixed since). They obviously come with spoilers, so I’ll have a blog post up soon to discuss them if you’re interested!

Spoiler review:
The first is that a big deal was made at the beginning about how Adam knew his way around the chapel, and which creaky stairs not to step on. In the end, it came out that he had never been there before and didn’t know it was Henry’s house, so this confused me.

The other is that while Adam suffered from face blindness, he also talked about how he could recognize his wife based on her mannerisms. If so, wouldn’t he have known that he was sleeping with Amelia instead of Robin? I kept thinking that he’d be more attuned to the way people smell if he couldn’t recognize their face. Maybe this was just a blatant lie to Robin since their relationship was already on the rocks.

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  1. I liked this book but I was left with a few questions but one main one.

    So Adam was the one who killed his mother, so why the confrontation when he read Robin’s letter?! Wouldn’t Amelia have been like “erm no hun, that was you” or IF she didn’t realise it was him (she hasn’t got face blindness so not sure why she wouldn’t), she would have been like “nah some kid was driving at the time” ?!

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