As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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HQ (HarperCollins), 24 October 2017. ISBN: 978-0-00-821559-0 (HB)
What if...?One of the
fundamental questions on which all fiction is based. The what if... at
the root of this tense psychological thriller involves a child. Two children,
in fact, but the tension takes off with the arrival of the second.
Caitlin Lupo is a successful
and reasonably contented child psychologist who runs a respected clinic, has a
well-adjusted daughter she adores and also has a reasonably stable marriage. Or
so she thinks – until the night her husband's love-child appears on the
doorstep. That's when everything begins to spiral out of control, at breakneck
At first I have to say I
wasn't entirely convinced that everything would go so wrong so
quickly for Caitlin – but more information emerged, and I caught on to what
author Mel McGrath was doing. Or rather, what she had decided her characters
were going to do. As in all good thrillers, there's more going on than meets
the eye, and I'm giving no more away than that.
The narrative is set against
a version of London before, during and after a riot: all too appallingly
possible these days, and a background which reflects Caitlin's chaotic life and
state of mind quite neatly. Middle-class households, cheap motels and an
upmarket residence also form part of the scenery, and are portrayed subtly yet
The best fiction focuses on
the characters, and the cast Caitlin has to deal with are all well drawn. Among
the minor players I especially enjoyed Gloria, an unexpected ally from a
run-down estate, and Sally, Caitlin's flamboyant sister. The two girls, Freya
and Ruby, are both on the cusp of adolescence, but very different
personalities; Freya is young for her age and biddable, Ruby precocious,
determined and... but that would be telling. The story is told in the first
person, which can make bringing the narrator to life a bit of a challenge, but
Caitlin herself is very present: confused and frightened much of the time, but
resourceful and with a core of steel. And Tom, her husband... I'm saying
nothing about him, except he is arguably the most real of all.
This is very much a novel
about people: the way they see each other, fool themselves and each other, and
ultimately damage each other. The tension gathers as the narrative progresses,
and though it's not edge-of-the-seat drama, it could very well keep you up
later than you intend.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
McGrathwas born near Romford, Essex. Her books include, Motel
Nirvana, which won the 1996 John Llewelyn Rhys/Mail on Sunday award for
the Best New British and Commonwealth Writer under thirty-five, Hard Soft
and Wet, the bestselling memoir Silvertown and, most recently, The
Long Exile: A True Story of Deception and Survival Amongst the Inuit of the
Canadian Arctic. Hopping, the sequel to Silvertown. She
writes for the Guardian, Independent, The Times, Evening Standard
and Condé Nast Traveller. She is a regular broadcaster on radio, and
has been a television producer and presenter. She lives and works in London.
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.