I’ve read a couple of books by this author and thoroughly enjoyed them, so when I saw this in a charity shop, I happily handed over my money.
I’ve been reading it in bed at night and finished it yesterday.
The main characters:
Glen Garber, his wife Sheila and their eight year old daughter Kelly.
Darren Slocum, his wife Ann and their daughter Emily, Kelly’s best friend.
Fiona, Sheila’s mother, and Marcus, her second husband.
Betsy and Doug Pinder, Belinda and George Morton.
Sally and Theo.
The book opens with a couple of friends on holiday looking for a bargain.
They are actually unrelated to the story, just a casual pair of throwaway characters who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and are murdered.
We are then introduced to our main leads, and thus the web strands begin to be woven.
Glen is in the construction business, Sally works in the company office, and Theo works for Glen as an electrician. The two are engaged. Doug also works for Glen, the pair going well back having been friends for a long time.
Glen is facing a lawsuit and potential ruin due to a property fire which is under investigation to see if poor workmanship or carelessness were to blame.
Sheila is killed in a car accident. Being drunk behind the wheel, she is responsible for the deaths of two others, and Kelly is bullied at school because of it.
Thanks to comments made by Sheila’s friend Belinda about her drinking habits during their lunch meetings, the family of the other victims are now suing Glen for $15m.
Fiona blames Glen completely for not noticing her daughter was ‘having problems’, and Marcus is forever the peacemaker.
Darren is a cop, and when Kelly is invited for a sleepover, she overhears a telephone conversation between Ann and two other individuals whilst playing Hide and Seek with Emily. When discovered by Ann who becomes angry, Kelly rings her father to come and collect her.
Ann is later the victim of a freak accident, falling into the river trying to change a flat tyre in the dark.
Revolving around knock off goods ranging from handbags to prescription drugs and component parts, what follows is a clever mix of divided loyalties, disbelief, eye opening revelations, betrayal, and deceit.
Doug keeps asking for advances on his wages due to financial worries and Theo is totally unreliable in his work and timekeeping.
At the heart of it all is Glen, coming to terms with widowhood, the love he has for his daughter and his refusal to accept that Sheila was an alcoholic. He has more questions than answers and finds an ally of sorts in a female detective investigating the case.
Throw in the death of a private investigator tracking the network of the knock off merchants, missing money and more than a little blackmail, I was totally unprepared for the ending.
This pleased me no end, as for once I hadn’t seen it coming.