Clare Littleford

Pocket Books, £6.99pbk

Reviewed by Ayo Onatade

In Beholden Clare Littleford has written an atmospheric and rather creepy debut novel of psychological suspense.

Everyday on the bus on his way to work, Peter, a Nottingham City Council Officer, watches a young girl called Sophie sit and scrawl away in her notebook. However, when Peter sees her get off the bus (not at her usual stop) and hasten into the railway station leaving her notebook behind he decides to take it to read and find out what she has been writing.

The police soon become involved after the girl goes missing, and Peter who has read the diary realises that he knows too much. And that the truth of what happened must never be revealed.

Beholden is a gripping story, one of misrepresentation and fixation as well as what happens as a result of an obsession. For a debut novel Beholden is an insidiously easy book to read and the reader is effortlessly drawn into Peter's dark psychological world. It's setting of Nottingham is shown in a totally different light. Littleford is certainly an author to keep an eye on.