The Boy That Never Was Hardcover – 27 Mar 2014
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Genuinely surprising (The Guardian)
Beautifully written, tense and twisty tale (Sunday Mirror)
Taut, smartly written, empathetic and at times unbearably tense. . . The Boy That Never Was hits the bulls-eye (The Irish Independent)
Cleverly written. A tense domestic thriller that is full of surprises. Dig a little deeper and you will find the broken heartbeat of this book which is the irreparable grief of the loss of a child (The Mail on Sunday)
This is a debut novel that will catch fire (Nelson DeMille)
A truly remarkable novel. The Boy That Never Was is a pitch-perfect balance of driving plot and honest, complex human emotion. Written in a captivating, lyrical style and brilliantly structured, the story grips your heart from the first pages and simply never lets go (Jeffery Deaver)
The Boy That Never Was is that powerful thing, a beautifully written mystery driven by its exploration of the characters' innermost hearts - of the inexorable ripples that loss sends out, and the terrible damage people can do to those they love most. Both as a crime novel and as an emotional journey, it's gripping stuff (Tana French)
About the Author
Karen Perry is the pen name of crime writing duo Paul Perry and Karen Gillece who both live in Ireland. Can You Keep A Secret? is their latest novel and follows Girl Unknown, Only We Know and The Boy That Never Was which was selected for the Simon Mayo Radio 2 book club. All three were Sunday Times bestsellers.
Top customer reviews
The beginning, with the description of the earthquake, is fine. It is intriguing and engaging. Harry's total lack of responsibility does not make him likeable, but flaws (even large ones) in a protagonist's character can lead to a very good book. Harry's recognition(?) of Dillon, filled with the shock and excitement which such an occurrence must evoke, is also well done.
However, in my opinion, shortly after this, things begin to go down hill. There is a lot of navel-gazing from both Harry and Robin which, for me, rather than creating psychological tension, slowed the plot down - to such an extent that I didn't feel particularly inclined to pick the book up again, nor did the fact that a major 'revelation' becomes obvious very early on. Not being one to give up on a book easily, I resorted to speed reading and was rewarded overall by two remarkable coincidences, (on which the entire plot hinges), an excellent unexpected twist and, sadly, a weak and surprisingly abrupt ending.
I really don't like giving a negative review, but this book just didn't work for me.
Harry is making a romantic meal for his wife but has to nip out as he left something at a friends. His young son is asleep having been given medicine so that he will sleep. Not wanting to disturb him Harry leaves Dillon alone in the flat hes only gone a few minutes. However while he is gone an earthquake strikes and the building where his young son is asleep doesn't survive the quake and neither does his son. Or does he?
Harry and his wife move back to their native Ireland from Tangiers and try to rebuild their lives. Except Harry cannot forgive himself or forget their son. The story picks up five years later he is in the city centre caught up in a protest march that he didn't even realise was on when he glimpses a child in the crowd that he believes is Dillion. Is this Harry mind playing tricks on him it wouldn't be the first time. Could this child really be Dilon or wishful thinking on Harry part? Or is something else completely going on? You will need to read it to find out but lets just say its a brilliant story brilliant written
The characters were great and at times I really felt frustrated with their lack of motivation - a good indication of how brilliant this author is.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good story they can really get lost in. It is sad but I did like the way the story developed and it felt as if it changed every time you started a new chapter. At one point in this story the descriptive writing was so good I actually felt like I was in Tangier.
Well done Karen.
This is a realistic, well written and dramatic novel; with fantastic plot twists and turns. As Harry follows every lead to the boy he glimpsed that day, Robin is aware that Harry is moving away from her. Harry is also aware that neither Robin, nor his friends, believe that he has really seen Dillon – there are vague mentions of him being unwell, which suggest that he had a breakdown. As such, everyone is wary of Harry’s behaviour and of encouraging him; leaving him feeling even more isolated and desperate. The glimpses into how their friends and family view the couple and the events that follow are realistically and movingly written. I have no intention of giving away the ending, but it is a gripping read and will leave you emotionally wrung. I suspect this will deservedly be one of the big thrillers of the year.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher , via NetGalley, for review.
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