The story is told in turn by Carmel and her daughter, Naomi. The action starts at Carmel’s home where they are having a family garden party. Carmel’s other daughter, Suzanne, and her husband, Jonty, have brought Carmel’s first grandchild, three week old Ollie, round. Naomi has good new too. Her boyfriend, Alex, has at last got a job after a long wait since gaining his law degree.
Eventually, the party breaks up. Naomi and Alex leave. And then comes the bombshell that changes their lives forever. There has been an accident. Driving home, Naomi has run over a little girl on her bicycle. Naomi is critically ill in hospital. Alex has broken bones but is not in danger. Naomi remembers nothing of the incident. Alex said she was going too fast. Was she drunk? Then the police arrive.
Cath Staincliffe is an excellent writer, as anyone who knows her Scott and Bailey characters will know. She understands and is able to portray the dynamics within families, the lies and deceptions that help people rub along together or, sometimes, tear the family apart.
This is a frightening book because it shows how easily any of us at the wheel of a car could be just one step away from prison. It only takes one second, one innocent momentary lapse.
But I also found it a depressing read. Even more depressing than ‘Coronation Street’ is these days, and that is saying something.
I felt I was reading the casebook of some social worker detailing the relationships between family members over the years and there wasn’t much there to be joyful about.
In fact, I don’t know why I was reading it at all as I felt as if I was intruding; it wasn’t any of my business anyway.
Bring back Scott and Bailey.