***** out of *****
I had the pleasure of reading this book recently and am glad to say I finally got it finished. I was reading other books in between as I had promised some reviews to other authors, but nothing grabbed me quite like this one, although many of them were great as well.
We’re introduced to the main character Helen immediately. Helen is incredibly flawed following a lifetime of abuse at the hands of various people that she has trusted or should have been able to trust. Falling upon a chance encounter with one of the people who she feels let her down, she travels to Edinburgh to exact a brutal revenge.
Helen was my favourite character. Not because she was nice, but because she was brutally honest. I have known people like her who have behaved in the way she behaves and can justify it because they’ve been so badly abused. It’s easy to say “She’s bad.” That’s not strictly true, because this book is so layered that you have to go between the lines and find out what motivates her. I also enjoyed DI Brennan who was so snippy and sarcastic that I wanted to take her out for a night on the lash. Then, there’s ‘Toofy’, who you can’t help but like, even though you want to slap some sense into him.
It’s difficult to surprise readers, particularly when the book reveals so many of its motivations so early on, yet Sharon Brownlie manages to do just that. The writing and the dialogue is so often authentic that I could hear every character’s voice. I also loved some of the very Scottish barbs. That gave the book even more authenticity.
My favourite part of the book was when Brennan spends the whole weekend on it and turns up on the Monday morning like a roasted couch. That was so funny to me because I know so many who have done it. There were far more engaging parts of the book and more intense scenario’s, and they were all excellently written, but this one really made me laugh.
All in all, it was an emotionally charged and complex book that kept me guessing up until the end. There is a follow up to this book which I will read shortly and will resolve anything that I believe wasn’t resolved here. I have read other reviews where people found Helen unsympathetic and simply evil. For me, I saw more to her. She’s not a good person, but she has no reason to be a good person and has had nobody to guide her into one.
I’d recommend this book to anybody who has a liking for the grimier side of life. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture, but what it does do very well is create a fictional world and immerse it with characters and plots that you might read in one of those real life childhood memoirs. To create intensity out of that is very difficult. Absolutely loved loved loved it! Download it now from amazon or you’re really missing out.