The Fear by C.L. Taylor
Opening sentence: “I hate surprises.”
This thriller tackles a serious subject: 14-year-old Louise is groomed by her much older karate teacher, Mike. He is controlling and aggressive and the abuse she suffers greatly scars her and affects her future relationships. Mike is arrested and serves 5 years in prison, but despite everything, Louise doesn’t actually testify against him, as she is convinced she loves him.
After her father dies and leaves her his house, Louise, now 32, returns to her hometown and sees Mike kissing a 13-year-old girl, Chloe. She now realises that what she had with Mike was not love and is determined to both stop Mike and ensure Chloe doesn’t go through what she did, so Louise reports him to the police. But when they do nothing, she decides to take matters into her own hands and confront both Mike and Chloe…
Intrigue is built up through the chapter structure as well as the story, Louise takes the main narration, each of her chapters give us flashbacks to her history with Mike as well as the current plot. These are interspersed with chapters from Chloe, the broken, vulnerable girl Mike is currently grooming, and chapters from the mysterious Wendy. Her true identity is revealed about half way through, but initially she is unhealthily obsessed with Louise and we don’t know why, which does really up the fascination factor. We also get chapters from a police woman and old lady towards the end, which, to be honest, felt like very random inclusions and a clumsy way to tie up the story.
This is a read that certainly keeps adrenaline levels high, it’s pretty much non-stop action and takes a fair few dramatic turns. For me though, there were just one too many outlandish scenarios that had me thinking, ‘really??’, rather than fully engrossing me in events and this led to it being a bit of a disjointed read. I prefer my thrillers to have a little more subtlety and sophistication in both plot line and character development, BUT The Fear is definitely a page-turner for fans of high-octane thrillers.
I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review.