Another one from the care package. This one an uncorrected manuscript proof, which was quite exciting - made me feel almost like a Real Editor. Oooo. On the downside - I'm hesitant to review it properly, because it's not really the proper book. I mean, I've read a version that might differ quite a bit from the one finally printed. So perhaps a general discussion?
Amy is sorting out her dead mother's belongings when she comes across a diary and some newspaper clippings that lead her to believe that she must be related to the infamous Shand family. The father of that family was shot years ago by his daughter Sheila, who was then given a suspended sentence due to mitigating circumstances - he had kept his wife and two daughters prisoners all their life, subjecting them to mental, physical and sexual abuse. Amy makes contact with Sheila just as a dead body is uncovered in the woods near the Shand home. Who killed this person?
The best novels in this genre manage to create a claustrophobic atmosphere, so tense that it's almost brittle. Wilson's novel isn't quite as successfull all the way through. Amy's neighbour Charlie warns her from getting too involved with the Shands and falling into the trap of viewing them solely as victims. He says that reality is more complicated, and that people learn to become manipulators in abusive relationships. Basically, I expected more twists from the plot with all this building up, but it was pretty straightforward, with Sheila caving and spilling the true story without much probing. When Wilson dives into Sheila's memories of the torture she sometimes reaches that level of tension so unbearable you're hardly able to read, but it all falls a little flat when the plot then continues to march forward without any mishaps.
It's a shame, because the book really isn't bad, and Wilson is trying to tell us something about abusive relationships. Maybe the trouble is so much has been said before?
Never heard of the author before, but she has some critical acclaim to judge from the cover.