- About the Author
- On Active Service
I noticed this book when it was being read by the passenger next to me on our flight home from Majorca. It was the title that caught my eye and I craned my neck to read the blurb, which also sounded fascinating. My fellow passenger said she had been recommended it by a friend and although she was struggling with it slightly she was enjoying it.
I agree with her about the struggling. This is one of those books you have to work at. The timescales jump around. I found it hard to work out what was happening. You learn about the main protagonists a bit at a time. Right from the start you have to “suspend your disbelief” as Coleridge famously put it. The descriptions and characterisation of the characters is sketchy. The end few chapters are far too lengthy. The huge holes in the plot are only obvious once you have finished it and begin to mull it over in your mind.
At the time, however, you overlook all these criticisms. It is a brilliant book, a compelling read, what you would term a “page turner”; I could scarcely put it down. The plot falls into place gradually, all the strands coming together so cleverly. The main action on which the whole novel turns happens so unexpectedly you’re absolutely unaware it’s about to happen. There are twists and turns, things we don’t expect, the suspense is at times almost unbearable. The amount of research that has gone into it is mind-boggling. There is a grittiness and a realism to some of the later scenes in the book. It would make a really good film.
As a “psychological thriller”, this is not the genre I normally read, but it’s one of the best books I’ve read for ages and I would recommend it to anyone.
Bethany Askew is the author of five novels:
The Time Before, The World Within, Out of Step, Counting the Days and Poppy’s Seed.
She has also written a short story, The Night of the Storm, and she writes poetry.
Future projects include a new short story, this one for the young adult market, and another full-length novel.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, music, theatre, walking, Pilates, dancing and voluntary work.
Bethany is married and lives in Somerset.