Published by Trapeze
Publication date – 23 March 2017
Source – review copy
One day changes Jody’s life forever. She has shut herself down, haunted by her memories and unable to trust anyone. But then she meets Abe, the perfect stranger next door and suddenly life seems full of possibility and hope.
One day changes Mags’s life forever. After years of estrangement from her family, Mags receives a shocking phone call. Her brother Abe is in hospital and no-one knows what happened to him. She meets his fiancé Jody, and gradually pieces together the ruins of the life she left behind. But the pieces don’t quite seem to fit…
Packed with twists and turns, this gripping psychological thriller will make you question whether we can ever really trust the ones we love
Mags has not seen her brother Abe for years, not since she left the family home as a teenager. Now Abe is in a coma and Mags is flying half way around the world to be at his side. There she finds Jody, Abe’s fiancé . Mags wasn’t aware that Jody existed and the more she learns about her relationship with Abe, the more she feels that the circumstances surrounding the events leading to Abe being in hospital don’t add up. Mags is determined to find out the truth. What happened to Abe to put him in the coma?
It took me a little time to get into this story by Sarah J Naughton. At first it seemed that little was happening, other than the introduction of the characters and the immediate reason for Abe’s coma. But there was a sense of tension from the outset, a tension which was sustained and indeed increased as the story progressed.
The characters immediately forge impressions on the reader. Impressions that do change as the story develops. I wasn’t keen on Mags to begin with. She is prickly, argumentative and still clinging on to some form of self destruction. Jody conversley is too timid, needling in some respects. As the story progresses the characters of the women develop, expanding as explanations for their actions and character emerge. Even Abe is a fully rounded character, though he never ‘appears’ on the page other than in the recollection of others.
The story is told in alternating chapters, from the viewpoint of specific characters and also in flashback. The writing is engaging. As I said at the beginning of this review, there is not much ‘action’ at the start of the story but the writing is such that the sense of tension is palpable and the reader does want to find out more. There is a sense of claustrophobia about the story, lent by the fact that it revolves around so few characters. Also if you usually skip the prologue to a book I’d advise you not to in this instance. What happens before chapter one is intregal to the story.
The latter third of the novel is where the story really steps into gear. Whilst I found that the story kept me reading throughout it was the latter stages that held my attention the most. The story comes together very well and has a fitting end.
All in all I enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading more from Sarah J Naughton in the future.
About the author
Sarah J Naughton grew up in Dorset, on a diet of tales of imperiled heroines and wolves in disguise. As an adult her reading matter changed but those dark fairytales had deep roots. Her debut children’s thriller, THE HANGED MAN RISES, featured a fiend from beyond the grave menacing the streets of Victorian London, and was shortlisted for the 2013 Costa award. TATTLETALE was her first psychological thriller for adults. Sarah lives in Central London with her husband and two sons.