Book Reviews by Mae Clair: Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney #domensticthriller

Striped kitten lying on open book, eyeglasses resting on pages. Book and kitten on white blanket

This book was on my NetGalley radar, but despite submitting a request, I wasn’t approved for an ARC. The blurb sucked me in the first time I read it, so it was a no brainer to purchase the book when I didn’t get approved for an ARC. Hey, it happens. Rejection aside, I’m thoroughly jazzed I followed through on this one. Below is my five-star review.


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.

Rock Paper Scissors is the latest exciting domestic thriller from the queen of the killer twist, New York Times bestselling author Alice Feeney.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

What a twisty, atmospheric, and haunting read! Amelia and Adam are a married couple who take a trip to a converted old chapel in a remote area of Scotland. Right from the start, the reader knows their marriage is in trouble, hanging by a thread. Adam is a workaholic screenwriter who suffers from facial blindness—he can’t see or remember people’s faces, including that of his wife. I won’t reiterate the rest of the blurb but will say this book twists and turns in ways I never saw coming. The chapel is wonderfully eerie with an old supernatural history, locked doors, a creepy wine cellar, unheated rooms, and a crumbling bell tower. The remote location is made even more ominous for its winter setting and raging snowstorm.

Chapters alternate between Amelia and Adam, and another woman, Robin, a recluse in a small cottage nearby. There are also letters that Adam’s wife writes to him every year on their anniversary, and a unique spin on the game of rock, paper, scissors. This is one of those books where it’s difficult to say much without giving away spoilers. I will say that I was mesmerized from start to finish, gobsmacked by the twists, and enamored of the creepy, snowbound setting. I read late into the night to finish it, then found it disturbing, haunting, and utterly satisfying. What a winner!

72 thoughts on “Book Reviews by Mae Clair: Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney #domensticthriller

    • In this case not getting the ARC worked out, Harmony. Sometimes I buy a book because I didn’t net an ARC, only to be sorry I spent the money. In the case of Rock Paper Scissors the book was so good, I didn’t mind!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Mae, you had me at “twisty, atmospheric, and haunting”! Domestic thrillers are my absolute favorites, so your review has inspired me to head over to Amazon on this one. Thanks for the review – and for not giving too much away with spoilers. – the sign of an expert reviewer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, thanks for the compliment, Maura Beth. It was difficult to write a review for this one without spoiling anything. I’m excited you’re going to pick it up. I love domestic thrillers too, and this one is exceptional. Happy reading!


  2. I love the plot but what really caught my attention was the face blindness. I read “The Man Who Thought His Wife Was a Hat” which is Oliver Sachs clinical discussion of that. Fascinating. I hope in this story she wears a bright red hat!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’ll enjoy this one, Noelle. Hooray for overflowing TBRs, LOL!

      The face blindness was such a unique plot device. I’d never heard of it before reading Rock Paper Scissors. It’s difficult to imagine going through life that way!


  3. I am intrigued and would like to know why ARC copies are denied to regular readers and reviewers! I am not a member of net-gallery though. I am glad you found this book worth buying. I am reading Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson, a totally immersive, blood-boiling non-fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t how NG approvals work either Balroop. Sometimes I’ll request a book and get approved the next day. Other times, I request and the request is neither acknowledged nor declined (such as in this case), but the book gets published and the request eventually disappears. Other times a book may sit on my NG shelf for months waiting approval. I have one I’m still waiting to hear back on that publishes later this year, but which I request in July. Strange!

      I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but every now and then I delve into a subject that interests me or someone I want to research. Your description of “blood boiling” has me thinking it’s an eyeopener. I’ll be looking for your review.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the explanation, much appreciated. Caste is more of a historical that records the treatment meted out to blacks in America and there are many comparisons that the author makes with Nazi atrocities and caste system in India. It would be quite difficult to write a review of such a vast subject but I would try.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I did look it up, Balroop. I commend you for reading it. I’m not sure I could, and I imagine writing a review would be most difficult. A book like that is something I’d really have to be in the mindset to read.


  4. Mae, wow! This is a terrific review and you’ve sold it to me totally!! What a fantastic summary of how you feel about it with ‘I will say that I was mesmerized from start to finish, gobsmacked by the twists, and enamored of the creepy, snowbound setting.’ One I look forward to reading!

    I hope NetGalley see this and learn not to reject you for a book again! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Thanks, Annika. NG didn’t actually reject me, but they didn’t approve me either, which means the book published and was/is still sitting in my pending shelf. Sometimes they still do approvals afterwards, but I believe it’s rare and I really wanted to read this one. I’m so glad I did. If you pick it up, I wish you happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, disturbing, haunting, and utterly satisfying. That comment really draws readers in, and you stayed late to finish the book. I’ve read some of those kinds of books. I also like the chapters alternate between Adam and Amelia. I could hear them talking but not with each other!! Wonderful review, Mae!


    • Facial blindness was new to me too, Robbie, but I found the way it worked into the plot riveting. The whole concept is mind boggling to me.

      Sometimes I think publishers only part with so many ARCs from NetGalley. I’m not 100% sure, but I am glad I went the extra step and bought this one when it was released. It was awesome!

      Liked by 1 person

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