Hold My Hand by M.J. Ford
Opening sentence: “Somewhere, a girl was screaming, but the sound died on the air and became wild laughter.”
When she was eight-years-old, Josie Masters saw a boy, Dylan Jones, being led away from a local circus by a suspicious looking clown (maximum creepy levels coming into play here.) Then Dylan goes missing and is never found… Thirty years later, Josie, now known as Jo, is a police detective and the body of a boy who died a long time ago has just been uncovered. Is this Dylan? And is this (probable) murder linked to the current day kidnapping of a another boy, Niall, also taken by a man wearing a creepy clown mask?
Alongside the case, Jo has just split up with her boyfriend, fellow police officer, Ben, and is trying to deal with the fact her personal life has been turned upside down and her dreams of becoming a mother are shattered.
I remember once watching an interview with director Quentin Tarantino where, when describing his thought process while writing his film Pulp Fiction, he said (I’m paraphrasing here) that he was sick of watching films where every line of dialogue was just there to obviously move the plot along. Sometimes he just wanted his characters to chat about random shit for both the purposes of entertainment and to add a sense of reality. As an idea, this stuck with me and I found that I really noticed when stories – in books or films – were a little bit plot-by-numbers, with no added layers to the narrative. Why do I bring this up? Well yes, it’s a thought I had while reading Hold My Hand. For example, Jo is asked to babysit her nephew, ‘that’s a bit of a boring segue’ I thought, unless, yep, it’s there to provide a pivotal plot moment that was clearly signposted.
But look, I don’t mean to sound negative about Hold My Hand, this is a solid read that definitely has essential page-turning thriller qualities – there is a big reveal twist at the end that ups the creepy-factor initially introduced with the clowns and Jo is a great, gutsy female character that you can really get behind.
I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review.