The story starts at a rattling pace: lawyer Julia and stay-at-home dad Paul are in search of Chrissie, their teenage daughter
I’LL NEVER TELL
by Philippa East (HQ £8.99, 352 pp)
The story starts at a rattling pace: lawyer Julia and stay-at-home dad Paul are in search of Chrissie, their teenage daughter who has disappeared immediately after putting on a dazzling display at a major music competition.
Back at home they find her bedroom ransacked.
The search for the teenager and the question of why she has run away cause Julia and Paul to confront deep secrets they haven’t even admitted to themselves. In the foreground of the story are the complex issues that propel pushy parents.
The plotline is never obvious, while the fact that East is a qualified psychologist enables a skilful unpicking of the price people pay for living a ‘pretend perfect life’.
Written with subtle intelligence and quiet menace.
This is a terrific title for a book which investigates the toxicity of wealth and the effects rich people can have on those around them
THE THINGS WE DO TO OUR FRIENDS
by Heather Darwent (Viking £14.99, 384 pp)
This is a terrific title for a book which investigates the toxicity of wealth and the effects rich people can have on those around them.
Clare, a seemingly naive young woman, arrives at Edinburgh University to study art history. Seeking to reinvent herself, she identifies well-off Tabitha and her privileged crowd as her ticket to a different type of life.
At first Clare is blown away by their lifestyle, but things change when she is given a chance to get involved with them in a sinister business venture.
Meanwhile, the story is sprinkled with hints that Clare is not who she seems to be.
The gothic splendour of the city is beautifully realised and makes a perfect backdrop for the story, in which Darwent combines serious issues with a rattling good plot.
Written by a former ballerina, this unsettling tale is set in 1933
CLARA & OLIVIA
by Lucy Ashe (Magpie £16.99, 352 pp)
Written by a former ballerina, this unsettling tale is set in 1933 in the poisonously competitive world of ballet and concerns the entwined fate of twins Clara and Olivia.
It’s always risky combining real world events and people in fiction, but Ashe is successful at blending the facts around the creation of Sadler’s Wells with the fictional story of the twins, who are bound by their infatuation with ballet.
The theme of obsession becomes seriously sinister when the girls realise they are being watched.
As the story follows the rehearsals for the ballet Coppelia, we receive a quick-fire education on how the ballet works and why it inspires obsession.
An original thriller with a crafty plot.