“Mum, please tell me. What happened? Why am I here?”
Her mum glanced up at the nurse, who gave a small nod, a black curl escaping the cap pinned into her hair.”
“You were attacked, both of you, at the flat.”
“Attacked? By who?” A flush of panic ran through her. “What happened? Where’s Ali?”
“I’m so sorry, darling, but…”
What has happened is a slow unraveling as Lisa Fulbrook escapes to the solitude of the country to recover physically and mentally. The most important parts of her that she needs to recover are her memories of what happened to her best friend Ali. With flashbacks and terrors, she begins to wonder if she is to blame. Everything is a fog, and in this fog something doesn’t sit right with her. “She never went back to the flat. Her previous life was reduced to a small bag of belongings. Lisa shoved it, unopened, under the bed.”
Lisa seems to be suffering a form of PTSD, but why have the memories escaped her? Just what did happen? Who was the man, the criminal and how did they know him? Rather than a shocking thriller, this is more of a psychological drama/trauma. It is a victim’s story of confronting their monster even if that monster is inside of them. We often imagine ourselves as the hero in any story we hear. Surely, if I were in said situation I would fight, I would conquer. Truth is far more sticky, in the moment of any crime animal instincts overrule our rational mind. Sometimes we are more coward than the courageous lion!
No one seems to blame Lisa, until she sees Ali’s brother. Why does he have so much animosity towards her? She was a victim, she has the wound to prove it, she lost so much blood. What does he know that she cannot recall? Memory is a slippery fish, just as she catches one the rest swim off into the murky depths of her soul. The criminal begins to come into focus along with her own responsibility in the violent moment. Lisa has gone from being young, carefree, she and Ali flirting with life as any young woman does to living in a isolated place, keeping the world far from her. How does one conquer themselves? How do you fight your own mind to reach truth?
The novel is quiet and disturbing. It isn’t action packed, much more an excavation of the internal. For anyone that likes psychological dramas, this is for you. The reader is in the darkness of Lisa’s memory lapses as much as Lisa herself. You care enough to want to unravel the mystery but there isn’t any heart pounding terror happening along the way. There were times I felt the element of terror would have entered more, particularly for someone that suffered so much trauma. The novel ambles along and many readers of ‘thrillers’ don’t have the patience. For those that do, it’s a walk in the head. I enjoyed it but more from the victim’s perspective and there were times it moved too slowly for me. I expected the truth to be much more shocking, but all the same it was still strange.
Publication Date: February 1, 2017