This was a really gripping and fascinating read. As always when reviewing thrillers, it would be wrong of me to tell too much of the story. In brief, Bel and Jade were convicted for murder twenty-five years earlier, and are now living with new identities as Amber and Kirsty. One of the conditions of their release is that they must never contact each other, but their paths unexpectedly cross again when Kirsty, now a successful journalist, covers a story at Amber's place of work in the run-down seaside town of Whitmouth.
The book is full of weighty moral questions - nature and nurture, the age of responsibility for your actions, the rights of convicted child murderers to resume their lives, media responsibility, personal responsibility - and you inevitably reflect on recent news stories that brought the meatier issues to public attention. But as well as that, this book is an absolutely gripping read - impossible to put down, a book you'll think about constantly when you're not reading it, and for a long time after you've finished. The characters - even the minor ones, like the night shift workers - are drawn in wonderful detail, and you enter their murky world entirely. The setting is vividly drawn - we all know places like Whitmouth, with its brash seafront lights and dark deserted alleys behind. The whole book is superbly dark and gritty - the seediness and sleaziness of it all made me think of the books of Cathi Unsworth - and thoroughly absorbing. The pacing of it all is quite perfect, building to an explosive and unexpected climax.
I absolutely loved it - psychological thriller writing at its very best, a book that you'll have difficulty putting down, and which really makes you think as you feverishly turn the pages. I'm dying to see what Alex Marwood does next.
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