Rachel Abbott clearly is a very prolific writer, having published over ten books since 2011. This was my second one, both read on my Kindle and just as the majority of my crime fiction on it probably bought on one of the daily deals. A habit I stopped, as so rarely one can find something worthwhile there.
My Kindle announced it to me as a ‘brilliant thriller full of twists and turns’. I may be wrong in my expectations, but from a brilliant thriller, I expect one of two things: lots of bodies or a fast-paced plot. None of those features here. Similarly, with all the other things you’d expect from a book like this, such as suspense, tension, thrill, riddle…
Just to make it clear, this is by no means the worst thriller I read (that title goes to a book about an ex-CIA agent turned lumberjack), and I read it within one day. But it is definitely not what’s advertised.
The narration jumps between a third-person one focusing on Cleo, sister of Mark North, a famous if moody photographer. The first-person narration is lead by Evie, Mark’s new partner and the mother of his child. Everything seems to revolve around Mark and his slightly neurotic personality, scarred by the accidental death of his first wife. Cleo does everything to grow his career and protect him. Evie deals with the home side of things, both women pretending to be civil, but disliking each other. Frankly, there’s no surprise about that as hardly any of the characters in the book is likable.
On top of that, we have a pair of police officers – Stephanie, a uniform aspiring to be a detective and Gus, her former life partner, who leads this case. A ton of unprocessed feelings described here.
It all starts with a distress call from a beautiful modern house overlooking the sea from a cliff. Stephanie, with her partner, is the first responder. After searching the house they find two bodies intertwined in a blood-soaked bed. Only one of them is alive. Evie quickly admits to killing her husband.
The premise is that as much as we seem to know everything we know nothing. And we should be finding out bits and bobs at the author’s pace and pleasure. The problem is that you can figure some things out very early in the book and the rest somewhere around the half-way mark. The court case scenes are dragging, the clues take forever to be understood by the police. It just doesn’t come together.
And the windy, rainy, cliff-hanger final scene really doesn’t work too well either. None of it is believable. None of it, or very little, surprising, none of it builds suspense or tension.
If you have time to spare and already got a copy of this book, then go for it. It is readable (as in you can read it, not as in page-turner), but otherwise don’t go out of your way for it. There’s better out there.