I’ve not read a Belinda Bauer book for a while and I’m not sure exactly why, but when I saw that this had been picked for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and it was a crime novel, well, I had to read it.
The opening chapter is just brilliant, completely gripping and terrifying.
A group of children are left in a broken down car on a motorway layby on a hot summer’s day in 1998. They are awaiting their mother, who has gone to phone for help, and Jack, who is only eleven is in charge of his two younger sisters.
But she doesn’t come back and so sets the stage for the rest of the book.
Jump forward three years and we are in a world with Jack who is trying to find out what happened to his mother whilst still being in charge. He is still looking after his younger sisters, the house, making sure everything is held together…and not doing a very good job of it.
The writing is excellent in this book. I loved the seamless changing of points of view. Other characters are a couple of detectives, Catherine While, a woman being terrorised by a burglar and Jack’s sisters. The writing moves from each of these characters effortlessly, taking you into their mindset and world. It’s done so well so that all characters really get under your skin. They kind of stayed with me and I found myself thinking about them at other times of the day, which is always a sign that a book has really resonated with me.
I wouldn’t say this was a page turner, but it did keep me very interested and I was keen to get back to it.
There were moments where I wondered of the credibility, some of the scenes with the police had me a little confused, but it didn’t detract from the plot at all. And the plot is truly excellent. The tension and pace were fantastic throughout and I really enjoyed the suspenseful turns and twists. And, best of all I loved the ending. It was done fantastically. A really great read I would recommend.