This is an easy mystery/suspense novel. A light read..
Three main characters :
1) Alice, an ICU high dependency unit nurse and her two patients
2) Frank, with a tracheotomy and ventilator suffering from “locked in syndrome”, post stroke and alcoholism
3) Cassie, a young wife with a head injury and coma, post a hit and run accident
The story revolves around the lives of all the three, Alice with her husband David and her inability to sustain her pregnancies. Frank and his relationship to daughter Lucy, which is described in bits and pieces as past memory. Cassie and her husband Jack, mother-in-law, Charlotte and the ebb and flow of family politics and life in a farm. Alice has a different relationship with both her patients. She believes that Frank’s brain is active but his body is locked, so she shares her life secrets with him, he is her sounding board. She also feels a strange connection to Cassie and goes about finding out more about her past life, especially when she finds out that Cassie is pregnant.
Points of mystery are
Who visits Cassie at night, her family or friend Nicky or stepfather Marcus or neighbour Jonny, is Cassie in danger from that person, whose child is Cassie carrying, was Cassie running away or searching for her dog, why is Jack so tensed, is it work or something else, will Cassie ever get up to tell the truth. How does Frank help when he cannot move or talk, what has Frank heard in the darkness of the night. The answers to these doubts are in hidden in the pages of the book. That’s what makes this book an entertaining read.
Emily Elgar writes well in her debut novel, but a little depth to her characters would be nice. She writes the story of every character in the past and the present. She makes Cassie sound like a complex woman but does not describe her complexities or her feelings for her parents or her future family. Everything is told to us in a couple of lines. There are lot of small things left to imagination and presumption. But in saying this, I would also add that these are just minor details, does not detract much from the suspense. On the whole a good read, worth spending the afternoon with this book.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and publisher Little Brown Book Group, UK Sphere and this is my honest and unbiased opinion
My rating : 3.5 stars
About the Author
Originally from the Cotswolds, Emily Elgar studied at Edinburgh University, but now lives in London. She completed the Novel Writing course at the Faber Academy in 2014 and this is her first novel.
When Cassie Jensen arrives on the intensive care ward in St Catherine’s hospital, Alice Marlowe the chief nurse, is fascinated by this young, beautiful woman who strikes her as familiar and yet she doesn’t know why. But then Alice is astonished to discover something about Cassie that she has been keeping secret from everyone, including her devoted husband and family; a secret that changes everything.
Frank is a patient on the same ward who has locked-in-syndrome, so can hear and see everything around him but cannot communicate. Soon he comes to understand that Cassie’s life is still in danger and as the police continue to investigate what really happened to Cassie, only Frank holds the truth, which no one can know and he cannot tell . . .
Publication date : 26th January 2017
Publisher : Sphere
Language : English
Available on Amazon
Not a psychological thriller