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Friday 25 November 2016

‘Losing Juliet’ by June Taylor

Published by HarperCollins Killer Reads,
12 January 2017.
ISBN: 978-0-0082-1508-8

What if someone from your past, someone you were once close to, suddenly reappears in your life despite your strenuous efforts to operate under the radar? And what if that person gets under your skin again, and the past you share comes out of the shadows and threatens everything you hold dear? That’s the premise behind Losing Juliet, a debut psychological thriller from Leeds-based author June Taylor.

It’s told from the point of view of Eloise, teenage daughter of emotionally fragile Chrissy. Warned by her late father that Chrissy will need careful handling, Eloise is delighted when glamorous, confident Juliet comes in search of her old friend from university days; perhaps now, she thinks, someone else can share the burden and she can have a life of her own.

But of course it’s never that simple. Chrissy and Juliet share a secret as well as a past, and as the truth about the ending of their friendship emerges it becomes plain why Chrissy is camera-shy and internet-phobic, and has worked so hard to stay invisible.

The action spans two decades, three cities and a beautiful country estate in Tuscany, as well as assorted French motorways and a sleazy motel, and each location comes across loud and clear. The shabbier side of Manchester and Bristol contrast well with an upmarket apartment in Rome, and the Tuscan idyll left me dreaming of hot summers and glorious countryside.

But of course fiction is mainly about the characters, and they too are well realized. Chrissy takes centre stage in the flashback sections which reveal her secret bit by bit; Eloise takes up the baton in the later, here-and-now passages. But the real star is Juliet: rich and beautiful, a little enigmatic, damaged and desperate to put right the wrongs of the past.

Once I set aside misgivings about whether a real-life Chrissy would ever have let Juliet back into her life, I found myself as swept up in their story as Eloise was, and even the occasional bumpy sentence in among mostly smooth and effortless writing didn’t prove too much of a distraction.

Losing Juliet is a promising debut from a competent writer. I’ll be interested to see what she does next.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

June Taylor is a UK writer who was runner-up in the 2011 Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction competition with her Young Adult book Lovely me, Lovely You. But she mainly writes Adult psychological thrillers, and Losing Juliet is her debut novel. She was a TV promos writer/producer for many years before becoming a full-time writer. June also writes plays as well as fiction. She is very active in the Yorkshire writing scene, on the Board of Script Yorkshire and part of Leeds Big Bookend.

Follow her on Twitter: @joonLT
Visit her website at:

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.

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