“There’s a monster in this family…….
When Joe McKee dies, the whole of the Derry community is plunged into mourning, with friends and family left reeling at losing such a well-loved man to cancer.
Joe’s daughter Ciara and step daughter Heidi are the only ones not grieving. For they knew the real Joe – the man who was supposed to protect them and did anything but.
As the mourners gather for the traditional Irish wake, the police do too, as it becomes clear that Joe’s death wasn’t due to natural causes.
Because the lies that Joe told won’t be taken to the grave after all – and the truth gives his daughters the best possible motive for killing him.”
This was my third choice in a 3 books for £5 offer as it sounded a good read and Claire Allan was a new author to me.
I read it at night after retiring to bed, and finished it yesterday, my third sitting.
I have to say, the story didn’t unfold the way the I expected it to from reading the back cover.
Each chapter is dedicated to one of the three main characters, ‘then’ and ‘now’, and written in the first person, which I’m not usually keen on. Luckily they aren’t too long (75 in 322 pages), but after 38 it started to get bit tedious as it didn’t seem to be going anywhere, though the old boy had now died and foul play was suspected.
Ciara hates Heidi, who is as timid as a mouse and would rather blend in with the woodwork. This I suppose is understandable as she idolised her dad and he left her and her mother for another family.
Abuse within the family was raising its head and Natalie, Heidi’s mother and the other woman, had died of cancer years before but Joe stayed in their house to look after her.
Now adults, Ciara is gay and in a stable relationship, whereas Heidi is married with a young baby, but both are uncomfortable/angry/afraid in his company, and have had little contact with each other over the years.
As the story progresses, Ciara is cruel, vicious and heartless towards Heidi who has dealt with her own demons and instability, and when the opportunity presents itself, she passes comments to the police to point the murder at Heidi’s hands.
The funeral is particularly cruel as Natalie is deliberately not mentioned in the service although she and Joe had lived together, yet he is to be buried in the same plot as she is, which Heidi does not know about until they take the coffin up to the prepared grave.
It is no surprise that she ‘loses it’ at the cemetery and causes a scene.
The rest to me was pretty predictable and for anyone who is interested to read it, I’m not going to give any more spoilers. The most blatant omission was the community. Little was said about it here, yet the blurb suggested, to me, otherwise.
Also, I feel the title does really not fit the story, as there are 18 ‘Now’ and 6 ‘Then’ chapters on Ciara compared to 34 Nows and 11 Thens on Heidi. Joe has 4 Nows, including his demise, whereas Alex (husband) has 1 as does Kathleen (Joe’s sister) who makes an appearance having moved away to England but comes back when she’s told Joe’s dying.
I’ve read write ups by other people on this and feel I’ve read a totally different book, or missed the point completely. However, saying that it does not make me want to read it again as I didn’t particularly like the format, and thought Ciara was the unstable one as she was, IMO, a total vindictive bitch and should have been Heidi’s ally not her tormentor all those years ago.
I have had experience with fostering abused teenagers, and the point above all else is that it is not their fault. They can be shattered and broken souls which is not of their making, but for adults to turn a blind eye or cover up what is going on is a disgrace and betrayal to the developing mind of a child.