A former Customs and Police Officer, Andrew Hill is just putting the finishing touches to the first book in a crime series set in the New Forest, where he lived for 30 years. An avid reader across the crime genre and regular at Crimefest, he now lives in West Sussex and works in property.
Interweaving a dual narrative with a dual timeline into a coherent crime-thriller are challenging for any author. Sarah Pinborough succeeds in building an elaborate and original story, where you’re constantly challenged to identify what the actual truth is from the recollections of others.
Adele is the beautiful wife, married to David, a successful doctor. Outwardly they appear a ‘golden couple’. But David is having an affair with a divorcee Louise, a mother with a young son.
There is a dark past involving the death of Adele’s parents and the loss of the family home in a fire, from which David rescued her. There’s also a significant inheritance involved that David oversees, and one that Adele has no access to.
never met David’s wife, and when she bumps into Adele they unexpectedly become
friends. Since Adele doesn’t know who Louise is initially, she slowing learns
that her partner may not be all that he seems, and is controlling, and even
the realisation sinks into Adele that her new friend is her husband’s mistress,
she remains supportive after learning that David has isolated her too, and is
violent - perhaps even someone capable of murder.
We also learn how David keeps Adele sedated with a variety of pharmaceuticals in order to control her, and how Adele has managed to somehow find a way to gain some freedom through ‘lucid dreaming’.
David is eventually confronted, and unsurprisingly gives a completely different side to the story that Louise alluded to. This changes everything thrusting Adele and Louise even closer together.
So who is telling the truth, Louise, David or Adele?
You have to admire the author’s vivid characterisation which keeps you immersed in the narrative, keeping you guessing, while questioning the events relayed in this dark tale. The short punchy chapters offer an excellent sense of pace and dare the reader to keep up with the interplay between the characters, as well as the shifting timelines.
There is a twist at the dénouement and not just any twist though; for it is a corkscrew, and one that is as surprising as it is intriguing.