The prologue was so graphically violent I thought that I couldn't carry on. Not like warfare, this type of violence is the kind I cannot stomach. It seemed like a long time coming, but the prologue ended and the story proper began. Phew.
I am glad that I did continue with this book. I don't give up easily when it comes to reading, I'll have you know. This is the first book I have read that addresses the Covid-19 pandemic, complete with social distancing and face masks. All seems very normal and odd at the same time. The chapters start during the pandemic, obviously, and reflect on the actions of the prologue, which happened many years before. The Covid aspect was subtle and addressed well.
There is no getting away from the fact that this is a gruesome and disturbing book about severe drug addiction, rape, paedophilia, psychopaths and incredible violence. Oh yes, and murder. It reminds me of those American horror action films where death and extreme violence are normalised.
However, it is not all like that. There are some sensitive and heartwarming scenes and the (probably) only likable character is a quirky vet with the possible onset of dementia. The drug addiction aspects are explained in great detail alongside the psychological vulnerabilities of the abused women and the long term effects these have. It is the story of two sisters who suffer a horrifically abusive childhood and share a dangerous secret. When they grow up one becomes a lawyer and the other becomes a drug addict, but they go their separate ways. Until someone from that past turns up invoking the dark terror with a new added threat.
The parts that were most appealing to me that I read with great interest are the sections containing the legal procedure from the police interviews of suspects to the courtroom preparations. This is covered in great, fascinating depth. Slaughter is a very talented writer and this is a true thriller from start to finish. Her fans will love this book.
For sale at Waterstones and Amazon and other bookshops.
Published by HarperCollins on 24 June 2021.
Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.
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