Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Beautiful Bad” as Want to Read:
Beautiful Bad
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Beautiful Bad

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  6,699 ratings  ·  1,515 reviews
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
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Park Row
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Beautiful Bad, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Annie Ward Jodell (below) answered perfectly. Maddie was furious with Ian, went storming off, tripped and fell. When two policemen show up at the hospital insinu…moreJodell (below) answered perfectly. Maddie was furious with Ian, went storming off, tripped and fell. When two policemen show up at the hospital insinuating that her ex-military husband had abused her, she realizes she can take advantage of what people see when they look at her and her husband. An innocent and a monster. But they have it backwards.(less)
Geraldine The grandparents adopted them :} !!!

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,699 ratings  ·  1,515 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Beautiful Bad
After a reading experience like this one I have to wonder, am I just a silly woman blinded by optimism or a glutton for punishment? I think in this instance, I have to go with the latter. There were too many telltale signs, and pretty early on I might add, that I chose to ignore. Things that could never be resolved with the turning of more pages.

A frantic 911 call draws readers in initially, but the bloody crime scene sparking the plea for help proves to be the strongest pull—an opportunity to
Jeffrey Keeten
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries, thriller
"I sometimes feel like my mind is possessed by another person or creature.”

One of the main characters thinks this thought towards the end of the novel, and the fascinating thing is it could be any one of them thinking it. Was it




Oh sweet embraceable you.

This is a tale about a tangled web of desire, deceit, and paranoia. If you don’t drink vodka, gin, scotch, or bourbon at the beginning of this story, you may be indulging by the end of it.

Who desires whom; who de
Nov 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Beautiful Bad is a psychological thriller about a mysterious accident, a murder, and a marriage at its breaking point. While there are some interesting elements and one fascinating unreliable narrator, as a whole I struggled with the multiple POV’s and timelines.

The book opens with a chilling 911 call in the small town of Meadowlark, Kansas. An investigator arrives a house in an upscale neighborhood to discover a lot of blood. Who the blood belonged to becomes one of the main threads of the
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Put on those detective hats and prepare for a heart-pounding thriller, sure to shock even the most masterful of sleuths!

I was not at all prepared for the epic twist in this book. I think I've become numb to the formulaic twists and turns I'm accustomed to reading. This book, however, was NOT that. Annie Ward is supremely fresh in the way she writes, but also, in the way she can spin a tale.

Jo and Maddie are thick as thieves, as close as two people can be without being related. This fact makes i
Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward is a 2019 Park Row publication.

Strange, absorbing, but too predictable-

Maddie and her friend, Jo, travel abroad to dangerous locations, which puts them in contact with paid ‘bodyguard’, Ian. Maddie and Ian begin an emotional affair, which is complicated by Ian’s entanglement with an unstable woman, and by Maddie’s friendship with Jo.

Nine years after they parted ways, they are reunited, and embark on a torrid, yet disturbingly intense, affair which eventually leads t
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddy-read, netgalley
A whirlwind ride, guaranteed to keep you on your toes right to the end!

Maddie wants desperately to explore the world. Living abroad has been her life-long dream. The freedom and excitement of working in Eastern Europe, far away from her family in Kansas, is absolutely intoxicating. And to top it all off…her best friend Joanna is just a border crossing away.

Finally, a much anticipated visit to Joanna, and here we go! A night out on the town! The evenings’ festivities in Macedonia take a scrumpti
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arcs-read

Regardless of the delightfully twisted finish, there wasn't enough here to push it into that 3-star, 'good book', territory, although it was close.

Many, many parts of this dragged for me. Upon reflection, I honestly think between 50- to 100-pages could have been done away with entirely.

The setting was unique. Beginning in Kansas, then shifting back in time and taking us over to Eastern Europe, Iraq and back to the United States, this was my favorite aspect of this book.

It's not of
Susanne  Strong
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 Stars.

Get lost in the Wickedness of “Beautiful Bad!”

You know those twisty turny books that have you so wrapped up that you forget all else? Yeah, that is what this book did to me.

It starts with a 911 call where a Detective is called to a home in Meadowlark, Kansas where a lot of blood is found at the scene, which becomes known as “The Day of The Killing.”

Ten weeks earlier, housewife Maddie is attending writing therapy sessions to try and recover memories of the head injury she sustained. He
Nov 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Not sure if I’m in the minority with my thoughts on this. I’m noticing average to fantastic.

I put it somewhere in between for several personal reasons.

I struggled at times with the back and forth in time. It took me a while to get it all in my head, especially from the beginnings 911 frantic call the opens the book. It slowed down its pace and although I’m aware the information had to be narrated I sometimes got to a place in my mind where I wandered. That’s not saying it was useless information
j e w e l s
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was ok

I really struggle with reviewing novels like BEAUTIFUL BAD. The novel has a lot of good points and an unusual premise, HOWEVER... it is a fail for me.

Despite having several interesting passages set in foreign countries, the story moves at a snail's pace. I don't necessarily hate slow-reading novels if the author goes deep in character analysis. Unfortunately, two of the three main characters remain mostly superficial throughout the novel.

There is a ton of wordage in BEAUTIFUL BAD and t
Katie B
This is the type of book you want your friends to read because you just know everyone's opinions are going to be all over the place and you can't wait to hear what they think. The things I enjoyed about the book could easily be someone else's least favorite parts. Some heavy subjects are tackled and certainly the chapters towards the end would provide material for a lively book club discussion.

Near the beginning of the story you know a 911 call has been placed and a police officer arrives at a
Alarming start, questionable middle & a beautiful bad ending!

BEAUTIFUL BAD by ANNIE WARD starts off with quite the bang and is graphically intense with some cringe-worthy scenes that definitely gave me the heebie jeebies. It is just too bad that those feelings didn’t continue on for the duration of reading this whole book. The storyline gave me something to think about and I could feel the obsessiveness & anxiety levels emanating throughout the pages of this book but somewhere along the way I st
Holly  B
Dec 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
3.5  STARS

Beginning with an alarming scene and a 911 call.  You know something bad has happened...

A slow burning domestic suspense with some page-turning chapters (at the beginning and the end). It also has a literary feel with the descriptive story telling and complex layered plot. It is well written with some interesting and flawed characters.

Maddie and Ian have an intense relationship and we learn their backgrounds, history and what makes them click through the author's detailed writing and t
Oh yeah.....a chilling start.....and a wicked kind of read!

The storyline..........follows a talented American travel writer (Maddie) on assignment in Eastern Europe....who often visits her spirited best friend (Jo)....soon falls in love with her new surroundings....AND a handsome, but damaged British bodyguard (Ian).

BEAUTIFUL BAD..........begins present day with an urgent domestic violence 911 call, then quickly flashes back to ten weeks before (as the countdown begins)....with a di

Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
beautifully dark, deeply disturbing, utterly deranged, extremely deceitful, and deliciously bad!

Annie Ward made my head spin with this absorbing and wild read. I had no idea what to expect with this book, in fact for some reason I thought it was about a beauty pageant gone wrong, so boy was I surprised when I started this one. In fact at one point I looked back at the cover to make sure I was reading the right book. This book was gritty and raw, and oh so good! I love a book that keeps me off b
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4.5 stars! Gripping from start to finish!

Maddy and Ian have faced many challenges in their relationship. Ian served in the British army for years where he witnessed horrific events that he can’t shake from his mind. Now an owner of a security company, Ian travels internationally protecting wealthy clients in war torn countries. Maddy worries that Ian’s PTSD and endless anxiety will cause him a breakdown. She also worries for their young son, Charlie, who craves his fathers love and attention whe
Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.

I may be nuts, but I was not crazy about this story.  Amongst all the glowing reviews, including one by a GR friend with whom I invariably agree (helloooo Carol!), you are going to see this rather lackluster rating of mine.  It may be nothing more than having read an overabundance of this genre, and finally OD'ing on this one.  Multiple time lines and POVs are starting to wear thin, too. 

In all fairness, there were a couple of little tweaks
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This thriller (yes, I read another) builds slowly, begins with the Day of the Killing and moves backwards in time from there. Typically, I’m not a fan of reverse chronological order but here it works. I think this is the result of not being strictly told in reverse order. The narrative does count down the days to the killing but it is interspersed with the development of the couple’s relationship, from both perspectives, during the early aughts. The settings shift from the Balkans to the Middle ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A chilling domestic thriller! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Maddie and Ian meet each other overseas when he’s in the British army, and she’s a travel writer visiting a friend, Jo.

Almost twenty years later, they have a son named Charlie and are living the American dream together.

There’s a camping accident, which leaves its mark on Maddie emotionally, and she seeks therapy. In those sessions, she reveals Ian’s PTSD symptoms, her worries over Charlie’s safety, as well as the complicated past she and Ian have with J
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Before I even begin, let’s address the newest pink elephant in the room . . . .

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

Please note this is coming from a person who looooooooooooooooved The Woman in the Window, but FFS this is like comparing apples and orangutans. These two books are NOTHING alike. Has no one learned from the debacle wh
Feb 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: paper-arc

A psychological thriller, with a the theme that seems to be marital abuse. The book goes back and forth, starting in 2001 when the couple first meets and moves forward from there, and current day, when they’re married with a young child. You’re given glimpses of what’s happened. You know Maddie recently had an accident while on a camping trip and did some major damage to her face and possibly her brain. You know there’s been an incident at their house and the police woman who first enters the ho
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
So disappointing! I REALLY wanted to love this book... my gosh did I struggle with this.

I of course had a feeling that I would be the minority in this one... because I keep seeing 4-5 stars on this? Am I missing something here?

I really struggled with the multiple point of views and the timelines in this one. I was really struggling with all the war information and in all honesty... in the middle was just unnecessary information to the plot. I feel that a HUGE chunk of information could have be
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have to say “ Beautiful Bad” was beautifully written that had me totally in its spell from the very beginning. The title is so apt, we definitely had the beautiful and a hell of a lot of BAD!!

Wow what a start!! There is an emergency call to the police with a woman shouting for help and a child screaming in the background. The police arrive and there are signs that a violent act has been committed!!

Told over several timelines and from different perspectives. Maddie is overseas teaching English
Helen Power
Maddie and Ian meet in southeastern Europe, fall in love, and move to suburbs in Kansas to raise their son, Charlie.  After a mysterious camping accident, Maddie starts going to therapy, where she gradually reveals to her therapist what her life is really like.  Told in three timelines, the events of Beautiful Bad lead up to the horrifying events that occur on “The Day of the Killing”…

Beautiful Bad is at its heart a psychological thriller, but it does have elements of military fi
4.5 Rounded Down.

In a small town in Kansas, a 911 dispatcher receives an emergency call involving a possible home invasion or domestic disturbance – a woman’s voice, screaming for help, a shrieking child heard crying in the background. Diane Varga is the first officer on scene. She rings the doorbell, yells, “Police!”. Receiving no answer she looks through the window, and sees blood – a lot of blood. Something terrible has taken place at this quiet residential address in a nice neighbourhood. Re
Julie (JuJu)
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers
Short Summary:
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 w
Meredith B.  (readingwithmere)
3 Stars!

The water poured into my mouth and down my throat. It took over and that was it. Everything was different.

Maddie is married to Ian and they have a son named Charlie. There is a 911 call made to Maddie's house and the detectives get there right away to invest. Theres blood everywhere and a lot of questions to be asked.

Maddie and Ian's love story started overseas. He was in the British Army and she is a writer who is traveling with her bff Jo to different places. One night they meet, h
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward is a psychological thriller that was slow to start but soon had me hooked.
Maddie a journalist and Ian a soldier fall in love and eventually get married. They have problems from the start. Maddie has an accident while they are on a camping holiday and is left with a brain injury and no memory of the incident.
I enjoyed this book except for the timeline going back and forward but eventually I saw the reason for this and it made sense.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Q
DJ Sakata
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Favorite Quotes:

“What do you fancy? The throat or the crap?” He pushed the menu in front of me. It was immediately obvious to me that whoever had translated “trout” and “carp” for the English menu had made some very unfortunate spelling errors.

The toothless octogenarian playing the accordion suddenly fell upon our table like a vampire bat on a herd of cows, and I started digging through my wallet for a tip.

“You could never be just another one of the flock,” Ian said, leaning close to me and look
It's a sad thing when you don't have the grand experience as other credible reviewers, and it's certainly a new experience for me as I'm usually the one praising every amazing book. Needless to say, this one wasn't for me. A relatively quick read, Beautiful Bad felt incredibly long as I struggled considerably with the POV's and alternating timelines. I couldn't get a firm grasp on them or find any thread of investment and I found it frustrating. However, in the end, all my mental exertion didn't ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Did ian attack maddie? 5 12 Feb 16, 2020 02:51PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Combine Editions - "Beautiful Bad" by Annie Ward 2 11 Feb 07, 2020 04:00PM  
Who killed panda? 1 3 Jan 18, 2020 03:50AM  
Bookish First Rea...: Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward 3 6 Oct 22, 2019 05:24PM  
[Spoilers!] Beautiful Bad Questions 2 39 Jul 16, 2019 11:43AM  
Unsure about an aspect of the ending... [MAJOR spoilers] 2 25 Jul 16, 2019 11:40AM  
Play Book Tag: Beautiful Bad (Intense psychological thriller) 1 32 Dec 24, 2018 01:18PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Favorite Daughter
  • I Know Who You Are
  • The Better Sister
  • The Night Before
  • Dear Wife
  • The Perfect Girlfriend
  • Before She Knew Him
  • The Woman Inside
  • My Lovely Wife
  • The First Mistake
  • The Last Resort
  • The Other Mrs. Miller
  • The Girl He Used to Know
  • The Missing Years
  • Saving Meghan
  • Little Lovely Things
  • Man of the Year
  • Blood Orange
See similar books…
See top shelves…

Annie’s sophomore novel and first psychological thriller BEAUTIFUL BAD will be published by Harper Collins/Park Row books in March, 2019.

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, STR

News & Interviews

When it comes to whiling away the dog days of summer, nothing is better than a good book. Or two. Or three. Let’s say ten! We’re getting...
32 likes · 7 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »