Had been meaning to read this for a while after seeing a review of it in a newspaper. I was looking for something to read over the long Christmas break and this is really engaging. I liked the characters and the descriptions of Pegs family and the squalid life on Thames Estuary were spot on. There were some genuinely suspenseful parts and the ending wasn't the usual let down where you can normally guess what will happen. Definitely worth a read if you like gritty psychological mysteries and this one is a cut above.
I had already read Cuckoo by Julia Crouch and had enjoyed that book so when I saw this new book by her I was keen to read it. It was an interesting story and I liked the character of Peg, although unfortunately a description of her was not in the very first part of the book so I had an image of her that was completely different from snippets that came out about her later on in the book. I got drawn into the story quite easily. It was an easy book to read and I did enjoy it but would not describe it as a thriller. The ending did have a couple of surprises but I thought overall it was a little too predictable and therefore a little disappointing.
I didn't find the setting of the story, the bungalow in which Peg had grown up, particularly chilling or creepy but a bit sad and melancholy and I felt sorry for her with her dilemma of living her own life with her partner Loz or looking after her Nan who had brought her up and her disabled Aunt Jean.
All in all I would say this was a good read but not as good as Cuckoo. I also found a few typing errors which I found a bit annoying and one error actually referred to the main character's brother when she was an only child and it should have said her uncle!
Peg is a library assistant, living in London with her partner Loz who is a chef in a wholefood restaurant. Every week she visits Tankerton near Whitstable to visit her Nan, who now suffers from Alzheimers, in her bungalow, where her obese Auntie Jean lives in the extension and hasn't moved from her bed for ten years. Peg was brought up by her Nan and grandfather after her mother died of cancer when she was six: she has few memories of her early life, and yearns to know what happened to her father. So she starts to dig - armed with a notebook and voice recorder - and soon finds herself wishing she'd never started.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I liked Peg's gentle character - not the wimp others have called her - and I thought her relationship with the more feisty Loz was particularly well drawn. And as for Auntie Jean - with her Guinness, nightly fish and chip supper and malevolent cat - well, she is a real monster in more ways than one. The plotting - with its slow reveal - is taut and gripping, and I found the ending a real surprise. The writing is excellent, with its touches of humour shot through with horror. Highly recommended to fans of Sophie Hannah and Elizabeth Haynes, or anyone who enjoys a well written psychological thriller.
I haven't read any of Julia Crouch's work before, so was sort of expecting this book to be a psychological thriller like her others seem to have been. It's not quite a thriller but it is definitely a psychological book. The main character is Peg, a woman in her early 20s who is only just starting to remember parts of her childhood that she seems to have blocked out. She spent much of her life with her nan, Doll, and her aunty Jean. Doll is a tiny but incredibly strong woman, and Jean is a massive woman who hasn't been out of bed for 10 years. Peg had moved away but when Doll has a fall and Peg has to go back and sort out her bungalow, in which Doll has hoarded everything and anything over the years, Peg starts to discover things that don't quite make sense and long-buried mysteries start to fall into place.
I really liked this book. It's quite a page-turner and I enjoyed how Peg and Loz, her girlfriend, uncovered the past bit by bit. The story managed to keep up the suspense of who did what until right at the very end, which is an impressive thing to do. I think Julia Crouch really portrayed the location, the squalor of the bungalow and the characters extremely well. I'd definitely read another by this author.