by Lynn Michell (published October, 2017)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It captured me from the first chapter. I was there with Neville and Abbott, walking along the beach, counting steps. The sense of impending doom is subtly achieved, from the moment we read,
‘There is no mistaking, they had come for him’.
We don’t know at this point who, or why, but we can sense the fear.
The timeline is cleverly worked. By taking the reader to the moment when critical events occurred, Lynn Michell moves backwards and forwards through the story, making each chapter one of action, rather than backstory.
Michell’s writing is very visual. She has a light, but effect touch with description, providing the reader with enough to capture the atmosphere of each scene, but not so much that the pace of the story is lost. The tension mounts throughout the book, with the backdrop of the sea descriptions reflecting the mood of each scene. A phrase, such as,
‘After the heavy rain, the weather is holding its breath’
is clever, as it makes us as readers feel as though we also need to hold our breath, while we wait to see what will happen next.
The two key characters are deftly described. We discover the light and shade in their lives, the people who have made them happy and those who have created difficulties for them. Each of the characters is multi-dimensional, even Bill and Ida, the couple who watch and pass judgement on the scenes that unfold in front of their beach hut. It is tempting to pigeon-hole certain characters as the villains of the story, but we are given enough background to realise that we are all products of our experience.
At one level this was easy reading – I read it in a weekend. But at an emotional level, it raised uncomfortable truths about certain elements of contemporary society. This story is a reminder to us all about the danger of making assumptions.