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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Constable, 4 January 2018. ISBN: 978-1-47212-384-8 (HB)
We all come with baggage, but some of us carry more than others. Alison
Bruce's protagonist Emily is heavily loaded down; in fact, her entire life has blown
up in her face, and all because she chose to tell the truth, blow the whistle
and try to do the right thing.
After several years of
happily married life, a handful of secure friendships and a business which was
beginning to gain ground and head for great success, Emily finds herself
renting a shabby flat miles from anyone she knows, completely shunned by and
cut off from everything she held dear – and all because she cried rape on her
husband's sleazy best mate. The problem was that the jury found him not guilty,
and she was labelled a jealous wife. Now her husband is having a baby with
another woman, her father won't speak to her and her best friend, who is
inexplicably in a relationship with the sleazy mate, hates her guts with a
Emily makes friends with
Joanne, the widowed mother of two in the flat beneath hers, and begins to think
she can start living again – at least until Matt appears on the scene...
I wasn't sure almost until
the end of this engrossing novel whether I was meant to see Emily as an
unreliable narrator. Maybe the verdict was the right one and she wasn't raped
at all – in which case, what did that mean about everything that happened
later? The story is told in the first person, so the reader only ever gets
Emily's view of the situation, and that adds to the ambiguity. I won't give the
game away; I'll just say that it's hard not to veer from one side to the other
and back again as the narrative unfolds, but the final twist is a corker which
I did not see coming.
Bruce knows how to create
characters, sketch a background and build tension; that was what kept me
reading past bedtime several times. She's especially good at children;
serious-minded Molly, Joanne's small daughter is as sharply drawn as the
adults. And whether or not I was supposed to, I certainly wanted to give nearly
all the men in the cast a good slap.
Alison Bruce is better known
for police procedurals, but on this showing, she's every bit as skilled and
creative when she turns her hand to the psychological thriller.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Alison Brucewas born in Croydon and grew up in Wiltshire. She has
worked in all kinds of jobs, from admin to electro-plating and from DJ-ing to
IT management. She didn't always plan to become a full-time novelist but can't
remember a time in her adult life when she wasn't carrying a notebook and pen
and jotting down ideas. One day an idea grabbed her so strongly that she
decided to tackle a full-length novel.Alison had moved to the Cambridge area in 1998 and decided to make it
the backdrop for the books because of its unique mix of characteristics. It is
a relatively small city but has a worldwide reputation for education and
science. On its doorstep lie tiny and relatively primitive rural hamlets yet it
has an airport and fast rail links into London. It is traditionally English but
multi-ethnic, vastly wealthy in places but under privileged in others. Alison
Bruce has also written two non-fiction books, Cambridgeshire Murders and The
Billington, Victorian Executioner, both published by the History Press.
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.