This is one of those books that kept making me say out loud, ‘What a shame’. It ticked so many boxes: good plot, check; compelling, check; fast-paced, check; gripping, check. But for every checked box, there was one to uncheck.
It’s an intriguing story: Catherine Morrow is found dead, in suspicious circumstances, hours after giving birth to her fifth child, Tristan. But this fact is kept from Tristan, who believes her mother left her family. When she discovers the truth, some fifteen years later, she argues with her father. Hours later, she too, goes missing. And so, family secrets are uncovered and revealed, and the family learns of the dangerous obsessions of one disturbed former school friend, one who has never let Catherine or her family out of his grasp.
This is a plot with plenty of meat and bones on it. And it does work. I really found myself not being able to put the book down.
But…sadly, it was seriously let down by lack of, or no, editing. I’m almost convinced this book started life in the present tense, but the author then changed her mind and decided to change to past tense. Unfortunately, the conversion wasn’t thorough enough and there’s a strange and incorrect mix mid-sentence. There’s no end of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, one or two minor consistencies, and the formatting is erratic with font-size inconsistencies. Nor am I so sure that one small odd chapter in first person pov of a dead person works. This just clouds the virtues of this book, which really saddens me. It could so easily find itself in the five-star-review hall. Everything that’s wrong with this book could be effortlessly fixed, and what I’d like to see in the author’s acknowledgements, alongside her grateful thanks to her family and friends, is a nod of appreciation in the direction of a good editor.
I can’t deny I enjoyed this book. I really did, and I so regret not being able to award it five stars. Would I recommend it? Yes, but wait until the author has fed it through a vigorous editing process.