Joe sees his wife, Mel, having a heated, clandestine meeting with her friend’s husband, Ben. Afterward, Joe confronts Ben, and their altercation leaves Ben unconscious and bleeding on the ground. Upon witnessing that sight, Joe’s son, William, suffers an asthma attack, and Joe rushes off for William’s inhaler. When Joe returns to the scene, Ben is gone.
A thrilling opening! Gripping to the nth, but then the suspense wanes and the writing becomes uneven as Joe becomes the prime suspect in Ben’s disappearance. The repetition, the inconsistencies, the technological errors…
I didn’t know where the story was going (props for that), and had to rely on halfwitted Joe (a teacher, ironically) who repeatedly tells himself, Think, and so often encounters things that “ring a bell” but are “just out of reach,” it’s surprising that the chump doesn’t have tinnitus and tendinitis.
When I learned the reveal, I thought it inconceivable that anyone would go to such an extent. (Not to mention: this is the THIRD British thriller I’ve read in less than as many months to have the same denouement. To be fair, this novel was released in the U.K. before the other two.)
I recommend the book to indiscriminate readers who like David Bell‘s writing style.
Release date: September 11, 2018
My thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for the ARC.