I was sold on this book as soon as I saw the cover and the blurb, set between 1980s Greece and present day London to me this sounded like the perfect summer thriller.
The cover has a dark & brooding feel to it, add to that the tag lines 'Where do you hide when there's nowhere left to run?' and 'How far would you go to protect your secrets?' and you have a book that promises to suck you straight in and that it does.
The book opens with a Greek fisherman seeing a body fall from a cliff and two figures fleeing the scene. We then jump back in time a few weeks and meet Emma James, a student setting off alone on an adventure before heading to university. She has plans for her future and plans for what she wants to do on her InterRailing trip round Europe. We then jump forward to London in 2013 where we meet Kate Barratt, wife of Mark a hedge fund manager and mother to Tilly and Martha except Martha died a few years ago as a child of a brain tumour. Kate has thrown herself into setting up a charity 'Martha's Wish' in memory of her daughter that helps build schools in Africa.
The first part of the book jumps between Emma & her travels in 1980 and Kate in 2013. We see Emma struggling to cope on her own in a foreign country which isn't helped by the unthinkable that happens. She travels from France, to Italy and then on to Greece where she meets up with Beattie and Jake, two American's who are both travelling on their own and we see how their few weeks together end in tragedy. Then in 2013 we see Kate, struggling to come to terms with what happened to her 33 years ago when she thinks she killed someone and has been living with that thought ever since leading her to drink far more than she should and eat even less. A photo on a tv appearance brings Claire back into Kate's life and immediately things start to unravel for her even more as she has to come face to face with her past. It soon becomes very clear that not everything is as it seems.
This book had me totally absorbed from the opening few pages where we witness the body falling from the cliff through the fisherman's eyes. You wonder how the stories of Kate and Emma link together and what path Julia Crouch is taking us on. The book twists and turns in so many directions ans just when you think you know where the story is going then BAM, Crouch hits you with a curve ball and you know nothing at all.
I could relate a little to Emma and my 18 year old self struggling to find my identity but she goes through so much that it is not surprising that she turns to drink and drugs just to get through the day whilst she is in Greece. Crouch does a great job of showing what it would have been like for a young girl travelling alone back in 1980 and how lone women travellers would have been treated. I am sure that in some countries they are still treated in the same way today.
Kate is a woman struggling to hold both herself and her family together. She is worried about her 19 year old daughter heading off to Greece on her own on a holiday not unlike Emma's. I have a 19 year old daughter and having read this book there is absolutely no way I would be happy with her going backpacking on her own.
This book is a story of revenge, a story of secrets with lots of chilling twists to keep you reading on. This is the first book I have read by Julia Crouch and I will now be adding her other books to my to be read list. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a gripping and psychological thriller.
Thanks to Headline and Bookbridgr for my copy of this book.