Author: Jacqueline Chadwick
Publisher: Fahrenheit Press
After a slow start this book grabbed me and refused to let me go. I struggled at first with Jacqueline’s style of writing; she uses a lot of big and long words, sometimes unnecessarily, coming across as a new author trying too hard to impress, but after a while you become used to it. This style becomes the thing that makes her writing stand out from the norm; maybe just have a thesaurus and/or dictionary to hand. Ali Dalglish, our heroine and main protagonist, is a coarse, likeable, and extremely interesting character who grows on you as the story progresses. She’s a flawed, highly intelligent woman struggling with mental health issues that I’ve no doubt will feature more as this series progresses.
Story wise, this is a very, very messed up book indeed. There whole passages that made me feel physically sick and disgusted with some of the characters involved. Jacqueline’s descriptions of the heinous acts of Patterson and the main villain (name witheld because, spoilers!), are utterly disturbing and are a credit to her skills as an author that she is able to instil such feelings in her me. Rarely has an author repulsed me in such ways; only Stephen King usually manages that. There were times where I had to put the book down and take several deep breaths. If this is what she is capable of in her debut novel I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us in the follow up “Briefly Maiden” (which I have now read and is indeed another triumph), and into the future.
In brief: a highly recommended debut from an author to watch out for. Clever, disturbing, pitch black and, once you get past the big words, compulsive reading. Just don’t eat anything before reading. 5/5