This is one of those books at the end of which you say, 'Wow, I wasn’t expecting that.' It starts off with an old man, Einar Coates, who, after burying his wife, Sarah, watches his children (Robert, Jason and Bethany) deal with the fall-out of their train-wreck lives that include infidelity, neglect, alcoholism and missed opportunities. And grief over one thing inevitably heightens the misery and resentment of issues past.
All this is enough to keep you absorbed as you learn how and why Jason loses his fiancée, why Robert’s marriage falls apart, how and why alcohol has become a prop in both their lives, and why Bethany has had enough of her husband, who wears his mobile phone so permanently attached to his ear, it’s practically an earring.
But…as you’re page-turning in anticipation…the author throws in the grenade that is Angus. A man in prison who has a bone to pick with one of the brothers. A bone that blows the fragments of the Coates family sky-high.
The author has skilfully created an atmosphere of tension and suspense. Unspoken words, unexpressed feelings all erupt into a mushroom cloud of regret, contrition and decisions that fail to come to fruition.
I would have liked a fuller picture of the fate of a couple of characters...I did find myself asking, 'But what about...' and if it's true the author was a former English teacher, I would have expected fewer errors. That aside, I really enjoyed and would recommend this book.