What first appears to be a random home invasion reveals a family’s dark secrets in this domestic ticking-clock suspense from the New York Times bestselling author of See Jane Run.
A hostile relationship with her sister and a complicated past with her father’s second wife have kept Robin estranged from her family for many years. But when her father’s new family is attacked in their house, with her father and his wife in critical condition in the hospital, she returns home determined to put her experience as a therapist to use to help mend fences and care for her young stepsister, who survived the attack relatively unscathed. It looks like a random robbery gone awry, but as Robin spends more time with her family members, she learns they all had their secrets — and one of those secrets may have put them all in horrible danger.
Published 27th February 2018 (Ebook) and in Paperback June 2018 by Bonnier Zaffre
This is the first book I’ve read by Joy Fielding, but I really liked the sound of it – I LOVE a twisted family full of dark secrets kind-of-story, so that sold it to me. And it started off so very well! Beginning with Robin, a Councillor but clearly struggling with her own anxieties and emotions, getting a phone call from her sister to tell them her father, his wife and step sister had all been shot, I was gripped within a few pages with the hints and questions the author throws up to snare the reader. Why did Robin react so badly to hearing from her sister? Why is she clearly so anxious at the thought of returning home? And why had a whole family, including a 12 year old girl, been shot? When it’s revealed that her father’s wife is Robins own childhood best friend and she hasn’t spoken to her family in years I was hooked, and settled down to a good old dark domestic drama.
I thought the concept was excellent – with a whole host of suspicious characters looming in the small town Robin is so reluctant to return to. I really liked the character of her sister, Melanie – sharp, witty, poisonous, this is definitely a woman with a grudge. I also thought the whole small town dynamic was captured very well, giving that sense of claustrophobia and everyone knowing each others business that adds a distinct atmosphere and works so well in thrillers.
I did feel the book lost some momentum around a third of the way through though, and my attention began to wan a little. There’s a hell of a lot of dialogue and an awful lot of back and forward bickering that felt a bit repetitive. A big focus was on the interactions between the two sisters, yet it didn’t seem to move the story on as quickly as I’d have liked and meant I wasn’t compelled to keep reading the way I want to from this kind of book.
I limped a little through the middle of this book, taking a couple of days to get through. But then just when I was about to loose interest completely, the booked picked up pace, and all of a sudden got exciting again! I’d been blindsided by the argumentative sisters and hadn’t seen a shocker of a twist coming, and as the final chapters flew by I was glad I’d stuck it out in the end.
I can’t decide if the misleading focus of the sisters relationship was clever or not. On the one hand, it completely threw me when all is revealed and took me by surprise. On the otherhand, it almost felt a bit too out of the blue to be real. I still think the concept was an excellent one, and I’d definitely pick up a book by this author again, having finished on a high. Overall, a book with a lot of potential that was worth reading to the end, but for me just missed the mark a little.
(I read an advance ebook courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley)