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Published by Simon & Schuster, 9 February 2017. ISBN: 978-1-4711-3322-0
psychological suspense novel, Fran Hoffman, widowed with two children, Rufus
and Ruby, attends a memorial service for her husband Caspian, a doctor who had
died fourteen months earlier in a knife attack. The perpetrator had never been
identified and the police had categorized the attack as random, possibly a
mugging which had gone wrong. Fran had been devastated by her husband’s death
but now feels it is time to move on and to start rebuilding her life but not
with a colleague of her husband’s, the unattractive Simon Pinner who makes his
sexual interest in Fran all too clear at the post-service reception. However,
there is someone else at the reception who introduces himself as Harry Dunbar,
a business acquaintance of her husband’s. He tells her that Caspian had told
him he was being threatened, he thought by someone called Paul at the behest of
Jayson Carr. This horrifies Fran because Jayson Carr is in fact Fran’s father.
Jayson and Caspian had had their differences because Caspian, a non-believer,
had performed occasional abortions while Jayson like most of the family was a
devout Catholic and a vehement pro-life supporter. Apart from this, Jayson and Caspian
had got on pretty well and after Caspian’s death Jayson and the other members of
the close-knit family had supported Fran even though she had left the Church
when young and rather wild and had never returned. At first Fran finds Harry’s
warning farfetched but when she hears that Simon Pinner, who had also performed
abortions has been murdered she thinks there maybe something in Harry’s warning
especially when she discovers that Paul is actually PAAUL, the acronym of a
Catholic pro-life secret organisation of which her father had been chairman. He
insists that when PAAUL had become more extremist and advocated the
assassination of abortion practitioners, he and his brother Perry, also
involved with PAAUL, had left the organisation. But the more Fran investigates,
the more her suspicions swing backwards and forwards. And were others involved?
Is there a connection between the abortion which Fran had persuaded her much
younger sister Lucy to have years before? Lucy is now obsessively devout but
does she know about their father’s involvement with PAAUL? And if not their
father, their uncle Perry’s role? And that of their father’s other brother
Graham who also has broken away from the Church and is now a feckless
alcoholic, divorced from his wife Sheila and estranged from his son, the
handsome, charming Dex? And what about Harry himself? Fran is highly attracted
to him and he to her but she discovers that he had never actually known
Caspian, let alone received any confidences. But in that case who is he? Why is
he interested in Caspian’s death and in PAAUL? Fran and Harry’s search for the
truth leads to great danger for them both and for Ruby.
is an intricate and cleverly plotted novel with an expertly planned narrative
structure told from the point of view of Fran, Harry and Lucy in a way which
ratchets up the mystery and the tension, while the dire effects of obsessive
religiosity, particularly in such a close-knit family, are described in a way
that is totally convincing.
Sophie McKenzie is the award-winning author of a
range of teen thrillers, including the Missing series (Girl, Missing, Sister, Missing and Missing Me), Blood Ties and Blood
Ransom and the Medusa Project series. She has also written two romance
series: the Luke and Eve books and the Flynn series, which starts with the
novel Falling Fast. Split Second is
her first teen stand-alone novel in seven years. Sophie's first novel for
adults is the psychological thriller Close
And here: facebook.com/sophiemckenzieauthor
Radmila Maywas born in the U.S. but has
lived in the U.K. since she was seven apart from seven years in The Hague. She
read law at university but did not go into practice. Instead she worked for
many years for a firm of law publishers and still does occasional work for them
including taking part in a substantial revision and updating of her late
husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence published late 2015.
She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly criminal flavour to two
of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens Press – a third story is
to be published shortly in another Oxford Stories anthology – and is now
concentrating on her own writing.