Opening sentence: “I’m alone in the park.”
This psychological crime thriller is Alison Baillie’s debut novel and sees Tom McIver return to his hometown of Portobello, Edinburgh after almost 30-years living in South Africa. His family emigrated from their home after the brutal rape and murder of Tom’s younger sister, Shona.
The memories of that terrible time come flooding back to Tom and seeing old faces makes things even more emotional for him. Especially catching up with Sarah, Shona’s best friend from school, who is now married to one of Tom’s school friends, Rory. Rory also happens to be something of a local celebrity, with a popular talk show. During his visit, Tom’s sister’s case is brought back into the spotlight when modern DNA evidence reveals that the wrong man was convicted of the crime. So Shona’s murderer is still on the loose: ‘What might happen now the case had been reopened?’
As well as being a race to discover what really happened to Shona, Tom and Sarah find themselves growing closer. Old feelings are sparked and it turns out there’s more to Rory’s character than we originally think. We’re also given eerie flashback sequences at the beginning of most chapters that slowly reveal details from the time of Shona’s murder. These sub-plots add depth to the main crime narrative, with the flashbacks giving a wonderfully sinister layer to the read.
This was a highly enjoyable thriller with a fast, steady pace, enough surprises thrown in to keep things interesting and it kept me guessing the outcome right until the end – always a massive bonus in this genre!
/ Published by Bloodhound Books March 2019
/ 290 pages
/ Rating: 4/5
About the Author:
Alison Baillie was born in Scarborough of Scottish parents and lived in County Durham, Somerset and the Yorkshire Dales before going to university in Scotland. She taught English in several Edinburgh secondary schools before moving to Switzerland where she still lives now. When she stopped teaching, she fulfilled a life-time ambition and wrote Sewing the Shadows Together, a psychological suspense novel inspired in part by events when she was teaching in Scotland. She is fascinated by the way we are influenced by the events of our past and has now written a second novel, A Fractured Winter, set in Switzerland, Scotland and Yorkshire. She has two sons and three grandchildren and loves travelling, walking in the mountains and by the sea, reading and writing.
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