It is hard to describe how I felt about this book. There were times when I was so frustrated with it that I almost gave up on it but there was always enough going on to make me keep reading, to persevere.
Mags is a wealthy and successful lawyer in Las Vegas. Years ago she had fled from a strict religious upbringing in the Scottish highlands and had lost all contact with her family. A late Christmas card from her brother Abe had been the only contact that she’d had in years. When her brother has a serious fall and ends up in a coma she discovers that he has listed her as next of kin. Dropping everything Mags flies back to London to see what has happened and to try and reconcile with Abe.
Mags soon realises that she knows nothing about her brother’s life now. He lives in supported housing in a dodgy area of north London. Abe was working as a carer and was much loved by his patients. His devoted fiancee Jody is a meek little mouse of a girl and Mags wonders what her brother saw in her. Irritated by the local police’s assertion that this was a suicide attempt Mags decides to stay around and do a little investigating of her own.
The story is interspersed with flashbacks to a childhood synonymous with abuse. Some of these chapters are very explicit and some readers might find them disturbing dealing with subjects like physical abuse, sexual abuse and rape.
For me the story was a little slow to unravel but it was a mammoth task pulling all of the threads together and the ending is ultimately one that is quite unexpected. It is a good story, you just need to be a bit more patient than your average psychological thriller. The run down estates of north London are beautifully described and it feels like you are there with Mags and Jody.
Supplied by Net Galley and Trapeze in exchange for an honest review.
UK Publication Date: Mar 23 2017. 336 pages.