As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Head of Zeus, 5 October 2017. ISBN:
It's always a treat to discover a talented debut author, and when the
genre of the novel is one of my favourites and the setting is one of the most
beautiful areas of the UK, the pleasure is doubled.
The genre is troubled
families, the location the Lake District, and Zosia Wand clearly knows plenty
about both. The family in question is the modern blended kind, rather than the
more conventional married couple plus two point four kids. Lizzie and Jonty
aren't married; he is twice her age, and the kids are his. Though only one,
seventeen-year-old Sam, appears in person for more than a page or two, both
leap off the page in technicolor.
That age gap, and the fact
that Lizzie is barely ten years older than Sam, lie at the heart of the story.
After forming a close not-quite-maternal bond with Sam over several years.
Lizzie now finds he is moody and uncomfortable around her. Jonty's attitude to
fatherhood has always been on the casual side; Lizzie's early life forced her
to grow up very early, and she's happy to take on the role of adult in the
relationship and the responsibility for dealing with Sam's problem.Except... It appears that everyone from Jonty
to Sam's grandmother and even a local policeman think that Lizzie is the
A tangle of relationships and
emotions ensues. Female companionship is thin on the ground for Lizzie, and
it's with some relief that she meets Rebecca, new to the small town they live
in. She confides in her new friend, but soon wonders if that was a good idea...
Several times as I read, I
found myself shouting out loud at Lizzie, warning her, begging her, desperate
for her to calm down and think before she acts. But that's the writer's art:
ensuring that the reader knows exactly what's going on when the characters
don't, and making the protagonist so real that we can't bear for her to
continue down the wrong path. The other lead characters, too, made me want to
hug them, slap them, cheer for them, blow the whistle on them, whatever the
storyline required. This wasn't a book to read dispassionately; I was right in
there alongside the family and townspeople.
Another aspect of that art is
to make the location so desirable and tangible that the reader aches to pack a
suitcase and head off to a new life. Tarnside isn't a real place, but it seems
to encapsulate everything that's good about the Lake District; it's a place
this talented author clearly loves.
Trust Me isn't a murder mystery; nobody dies, and though
there's a modicum of violence, the real crime is as topical as that blended
family. It's billed as a psychological thriller; it's certainly the former, and
the thriller label isn't wide of the mark either, especially when the tension
ramps up regarding whether Lizzie's view of the darkening situation will be
Did I say a treat and a
pleasure? Trust Me was both.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Zosia Wand is an author and playwright. She was born in London
and lives in Cumbria with her family. She is passionate about good coffee, cake
and her adopted landscape on the edge of the Lake District. Trust Me is her first novel.
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