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Monday, 28 May 2018

‘The Fear’ by C L Taylor

Published by Avon,
22 March 2018.
ISBN: 978-0-0081109-4

If you want a larger-than-life heroine who is determined to deal with her past, look no further than Lou Wandsworth in The Fear. Lou was bamboozled by an older man when she was a schoolgirl, taken to France and abused – and she’s never come to terms with it. She doesn’t set out to confront Mike, but things haven’t been going too well and when she finds herself back in her hometown to put the family farm on the market after the death of her father, virtually the first person she sees is her abuser – and first love – making overtures to another schoolgirl.

Lou lures Mike out to her isolated house. What happens next isn’t what she intended and it’s certainly not what Mike – or the reader – expected. I was startled by Lou’s behaviour but at no time did I completely lose sympathy for her. Meanwhile, someone is organising a vendetta against Lou – and Lou has no idea what danger she might be in from an unknown enemy –  while Chloe, the latest schoolgirl to be besotted by Mike, is devastated at a sudden cessation of texts.

I have to say, this was one of those commercial novels where the plot was compelling, the reading easy and the multiple viewpoint structure worked nicely. The storylines kept on delivering and page-turning kept on happening. There was depth and complexity to the characters, too. I particularly liked how Lou’s feelings towards Mike remained ambiguous for a long time – and how her determination to protect Chloe pulled her through.

The climax was worth waiting for, and the final ghoulish twist made me shudder. I’d not seen that coming: but it was well planted and plausible, which I do like in a thriller. Men get rather a hard deal in the novel, with few sympathetic portrayals, although the plot is so gripping it probably won’t trouble most readers. I can imagine The Fear will draw more fans to C L Taylor’s bright flame with its satisfying themes of revenge and redemption.
Reviewer: Dea Parkin

C.L. Taylor is the Sunday Times bestselling author of five gripping, stand-alone psychological thrillers: The Accident, The Lie, The Missing, The Escape and The Fear. Her award-winning books have sold in excess of a million copies, been number one on all the ebook platforms, optioned for television and translated into over 20 languages. She lives in Bristol with her partner and son.

Dea Parkin is an editor with her consultancy Fiction Feedback and is also Secretary of the Crime Writers’ Association. She writes poetry and occasionally re-engages with The Novel. When she isn't editing, managing or writing she is usually to be found on the tennis court – or following the international tour at home on TV. Usually with several books on the go, she entertains a penchant for crime fiction, history, and novels with a mystical edge. She is engaged in a continual struggle to find space for bookshelves and time for her friends and her cat.

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