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Friday, 19 October 2018

‘Do No Harm’ by L V Hay

Published by Orenda Books,
31 August 2018.
ISBN: 978-1-912374-21-2(PB)

The secret of a good psychological thriller is misdirection, and plenty of it. L V Hay's second foray into the genre has it in spades, from the back-cover blurb right through to the tense, unexpected ending.

Primary school teacher Lily has grasped the opportunity of second-time-around happiness after a disastrous first marriage to a self-centred control freak Maxwell. Head teacher Sebastian is his opposite in every possible way – gentle, generous and caring. But Maxwell simply won't go away and seems to delight in undermining Lily and making her life uncomfortable whenever and however he can, usually making use of their son Denny, who is too young to see through him.

Lily suspects he is responsible for various things that go wrong, but Maxwell is clever, and she can't prove anything. Her relationship with Sebastian, and with her best friend Triss starts to suffer – but it isn't until Sebastian's mother Fran falls ill that things begin to spiral out of control.

Hay knows how to create strong female characters; both Lily and Triss are independent and feisty, at least until Maxwell's wiles get to work on them; and Fran knows how to get her own way. The men are well drawn too: Maxwell is a good-looking charmer, and Sebastian's strength of character is marred by a distinctly vulnerable streak. 

She is also skilled at bringing locations to life: the quirky maisonette in which Lily and Sebastian set up home together; Fran's far more spacious and luxurious house; even the school in which Lily, Triss and Sebastian work.

The dual viewpoint style adds to the rising tension. The reader sees Lily and Sebastian played off against each other, though they have no idea what's happening; and though suspicion is pointed in several wrong directions, all the clues are there waiting to be spotted.

Definitely one for fans of the psychological thriller.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin (2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for The London Screenwriters' Festival. She lives in Devon with her husband, and three children.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this fantastic review, Lynne! So glad you enjoyed DO NO HARM :)