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Beautiful Bad

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  973 ratings  ·  604 reviews
In the most explosive and twisted psychological thriller since  The Woman in the Window,  a perfect love story leads to the perfect crime

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 encou
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by HarperCollins Publishers
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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  973 ratings  ·  604 reviews

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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
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 st
Jeffrey Keeten
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Susanne  Strong
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
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
Holly  B
Dec 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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

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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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 which w
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 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Norma * Traveling Sister
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
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
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, hav
JuJu (Julie)
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward is a psychological thriller that goes behind the facade of what looks on the outside to be a perfect family. The story within is one that is told from various points of view and various timelines actually starting off at the present when police arrive to a crime scene.

The present story has readers on the edge as the police get a call from a frantic woman who gets cut off before giving a hint to what is going on. Then upon arrival find a lot of blood and the search and
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A solid 5 stars for me. Beautiful Bad is a book that sucks you in immediately and the kind of book that readers of psychological thrillers will devour. All the characters in this book have seen some horrific stuff, Maddie- teaching English overseas and a travel writer; Jo-a relief worker; and Ian- a soldier/bodyguard working in the most dangerous locations around the world. Fast forward to present day, with Maddie and Ian married and now living in U.S. - things are far from picturesque and a mur ...more
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maddie and Ian appear to have a wonderful life. After a camping accident leaves Maddie disfigured, she begins going to therapy. Maddie and Ian's past is slowly revealed, along with their current situation - the day of the killing.

Told using flashbacks, this suspenseful novel covers two decades and a variety of locations. Maddie and Ian met when they were both living in the Balkans. Maddie was working as a travel writer and Ian was a soldier working as a bodyguard. They had a brief flirtation, bu
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
4.5 stars!

I devoured this book in one day! I couldn't put it down, sleep was forcing its way in and still I had to see what happened! Told during three points in time (alternating back and forth) including "The Day of the Killing", "X weeks before the Killing" and "Maddie and Ian's start of relationship" - chronicling how Maddie and Ian fall in love while overseas in various warzones, him serving in the Army and her a journalist and how that relationship ultimately ends in death - but the death
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome psychological thriller! This was definitely a page-turner and I had trouble putting it down when occasionally I had to when life got in the way of my reading time. This one was action-packed. Maddie fell in love with a man with issues. Ian was a bodyguard/soldier of fortune who had seen a great deal of war and pain and was definitely suffering from PTSD from his many wartime entanglements. The book went back and forth in time from when Maddie and Ian met, Maddie and her time with her fri ...more
So disappointed.

I won't butcher Beautiful Bad in my review, but I will speak to why this book wasn't a hit for me. The story is covered in three point of views—the scene of the crime; when Maddie and Ian begin their relationship in Eastern Europe; and then when they develop a real romantic relationship. Maddie is working in Eastern Europe while working as a writer. Her best friend Joanna also is living in Eastern Europe as well, and the two are living their best lives—going out, meeting guys,
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley

This book opens with a 911 call featuring a frantic woman begging for help and a terrified child shrieking in the background. Police are dispatched and there is blood, a lot of it, all over the kitchen. Who does all of that blood belong to and who is the killer?

This story takes place in three time periods, the present, 10 weeks ago and 20 years ago and is told from multiple points of view. We visit Kansas, the Balkans and Iraq and we learn that all of the characters: Maddie, Ian and Mad
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
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m a sucker for a strong start to a thriller, the kind that grabs you instantaneously and makes you want to know more and this one had exactly that. After a brief chapter where Maddie is contemplating therapy, you switch to a police officer who is called to a quiet, family home where something awful has happened but all you know is there’s blood and it’s now referred to as the day of the killing. Aren’t you just dying to find out more?! I sure was and my interest was maintained throughout.

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Play Book Tag: Beautiful Bad (Intense psychological thriller) 1 19 Dec 24, 2018 01:18PM  
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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
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