A true Whodunnit with more twists than hawser. Pack a picnic life support and get stuck in. Catheter optional.
The treasured car of an aging pop star runs down and kills a teenage boy one wet early morning. His phone cam shows his last moments and the singer declares that the lad was a hero, trying to help her when her car had been hijacked by another teenager in a dark hoodie. The boy/man had been trying to sell her drugs after she left a gig where she had been performing. Investigating cops, Pearl and Bobby don’t believe her.
Jacqueline is a divorced mother of two teenagers. Wade is the elder, a loner, a talented artist. Conner, 13, is woken by Wade in the early morning of the incident, dressed in wet dark clothes and instructed to get rid of a bag in a remote dumpster and not breathe a word to anyone. Wade is becoming increasingly unpopular with his school fellows and the social media turns increasingly nasty and suppositions become facts until Wade becomes a suspect in the homicide.
Conner is also subjected to increasing pressure by association; pressure he is afraid will overcome the trust and loyalty he has for his brother.
Helen is Jacqueline’s fellow worker and best friend. Her daughter, once Wade’s girlfriend, has dumped him. As Jackie battles with Wade’s increasingly weird behaviour, and his refusal to defend himself, she must battle with her belief in her son and while she relies heavily on Helen’s serene support as the community’s suspicion of Wade mounts.
New clues surface to cast doubt on the innocence of not only the old singer, but other players as well until Gaylin slaps us with the shocking final twist. Her characters are warmblooded with natural foibles, weaknesses, strengths and addictions. With some, integrity wins the day while others slide into ruthless self preservation.
Five-star recommendation for this one. The pace is whip crack, the clues keep coming and the agony of a loyal mother’s doubts is so real. Keep ‘em coming, Alison Gaylin.
Thanks to Penguin Random House, South Africa for the ARC. Herewith this honest review.
ISBN 978-1-78-089637-3. www.penguin.co.uk