BLURB: It’s time for a reunion.
Lindsey hasn’t spoken to Rachael in twenty years, not since her brother’s 18th birthday party at their parents’ remote country house.
A night that shattered so many friendships – and left Rachel’s father dead.
Now Thornbury Hall is up for sale, and the old gang are back there, together again.
A weekend to say goodbye to the old place, to talk about the past.
But twenty years of secrets aren’t given up lightly. Some won’t speak about what happened that night.
While others want to ensure that no one does.
Surviving the weekend is going to depend on whether you can keep a secret . . .
Crimeworm is back in the saddle – with apologies for my tardiness – with (admittedly a favourite genre) a psychological thriller. This is one of these novels which involves adults returning to a house which meant a great deal to them as teenagers. The reason for the final get-together is that, despite trying everything, Patrick cannot make the estate viable, business-wise, so is selling up.
Naturally, there’s nothing simple about the reunion, as secrets are teasingly revealed, and old humiliations and grudges return to the fore. The shadow of old events is always there – particularly the occurrence which led to the end of the glorious weekends at Thornbury: the seemingly senseless death of the family matriarch.
The house has went to rack-and-ruin in comparison to it’s glorious past, when the family had money. We learn of everything that’s occurred from Lindsey, who tells the story in first person past tense, and whose tale moves between 1991 and the present. She now works as a crime scene photographer. Particularly intriguing is the relationship between her and Rachel, who co-owns Thornbury with her brother, despite living in London. Formerly best friends, we are aware from the beginning that their friendship is now very sour. This isn’t helped when Rachel learns Lindsey is seeing her brother Patrick, leading to accusations of her being a gold-digger.
Secrets from the past, and the present, come spilling out in a hugely enjoyable psychological thriller. I was engaged from the very start, and remained so until I closed the book. The author moved impressively back and forth between the years, allowing tension to build, before switching decades at just the most effective points possible.
The only criticism, and it’s a very small one, is that not all the characters feel fully rounded – some are ever so slightly “meh” – probably an unavoidable side-effect of what amounts to six possible…what? Victims? Villains? Both? I’m not saying…! But as I already mentioned, the events are definitely enough to keep you reading avidly.
There are shades of Brideshead Revisited, in its theme of someone in thrall to a richer, more sophisticated family. It also reminded me a little of Lucie Whitehouse’s The House At Midnight, as well as some of Erin Kelly’s work, particularly when she so skilfully writes about how the past can never be forgotten and will always impact in some way on the future.
Definitely a “must read” for the many fans of psychological thrillers out there – add it to your list – and definitely not a book where you’ll easily figure out it’s destination. It’s original, and compelling, and shows Karen Perry (this is her fourth novel) is set for considerable success.