- About the Author
- On Active Service
I saw this book in the window of Waterstones and when I bought it the assistant said “Good choice!”. How right he was! It’s absolutely brilliant. I can’t praise it enough.
As I’ve said before “thrillers” aren’t necessarily my book of choice, yet this is the third I’ve read recently, and arguably the best.
Right from the start it draws you in. The prose, so concise, so atmospheric, with just enough of an edge to make it unsettling. It’s an easy conversational style, delivered as individual internal monologues, that gives the reader an insight into the characters.
I loved the descriptions of the train journey and the commuters, so obviously drawn from personal experience, and I could see that stretch of train journey in my mind’s eye, without ever having been there or knowing anything of the area.
We get to know the main protagonists gradually. We have to work at it. Nothing is served up to us. I like that.
It’s not always a comfortable read, there is an edge to it, a feeling of dread, as though it is unlikely there will be a happy ending for anyone involved.
The style of writing is compelling. Like “Gone Girl” and “Apple Tree Yard” it’s a “page-turner”, each chapter ending on a “hook” that makes you want to read the next one, even if it’s one o’clock in the morning and you have an early start the next day.
The criticisms I have are only small. Firstly, the time scales are confusing. At one point I kept having to check back to see which year we were in and which month, which spoilt the flow of reading. Secondly the three main characters are very similar and I found I was reading Anna’s internal monologue, rather than Megan’s and had to re-adjust.
The secrets in the story are carefully hidden dig this. Only as you near the end do you find yourself realising the clues so carefully placed at various junctures.
It would spoil it for everyone if I gave the story away, or even tried to describe any of the characters so I would simply say: if you like a thriller, a story with a difference, something you have to work at and that you won’t be able to put down, then read it. I promise you, you’ll love it.
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.