Publisher’s Blurb: A taut, suspenseful new novel from award-winning thriller author Belinda Bauer in which a woman being menaced by a knife-wielding home invader is connected to a string of burglaries in a quaint bedroom community, and the brutal murder that left three children motherless three years before.
Summary from Goodreads:
On a stifling summer’s day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. Jack’s in charge, she said. I won’t be long.
But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed for ever.
Three years later, mum-to-be Catherine wakes to find a knife beside her bed, and a note that says: I could have killed you.
Meanwhile Jack is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother.
But the truth can be a dangerous thing …
In 2015 I read the novel “The Shut Eye” and quite fell in love with the curmudgeonly Detective Inspector Marvel. In “Snap” my love affair continues. That is not to say that this is a sequel to the previous novel. Readers can be confident that “Snap” can be read as a stand-alone.
“Dreams died, but the nightmare of reality went on.”
The three abandoned children in the novel tugged at my heartstrings. So traumatized, yet so resilient, each in their own way. Jack, livid with anger. Anger that he feels abandoned – anger that he shoulders WAY too much responsibility. At the tender age of fourteen, Jack valiantly tries to keep the house going, the bills paid etc. so that the social services will not take his sisters away – Jack is plagued with dreams…
Joy, shut away beneath myriad piles of newspapers, quietly mourning how life used to be.
“For the first time, Jack felt sorry for her. For the first time he realized that Joy was not crazy – only heartbroken. And for the first time, he wondered if they were the same thing…”
Tiny Merry, full of life in an otherwise lifeless house, stoically loving her pet tortoise. Reading vampire books and mowing the lawn at the tender age of five…
“He couldn’t just abandon her because she’d already been abandoned. Twice. And that made him angriest of all…”
Catherine While, pregnant and so vulnerable, was a favorite character. The reader could empathize with her whilst wishing she had more of an emotional support system. She seemed so alone… Her fear was palpable.
The police team headed by DCI John Marvel was quirky yet worked well. Slovenly Marvel working with the fastidious Reynolds was a treat to read about. Marvel, with his old-fashioned policing methods based on logic, cunning, and gut instinct. Reynolds with his high IQ score, vanity, and insecurities. DC Elizabeth Rice was the perfect foil for Reynolds. DC Parrot, an older man comfortable in his job and rife with local knowledge, made up the fourth member of the team.
The Somerset/West Country setting really added to my enjoyment of the novel.
The outstanding writing brought the multi-layered plot together seamlessly.
At the risk of sounding gushy, I think Belinda Bauer is brilliant. She writes of serious crimes yet includes enough humour to lighten the narrative. Her characters are fully-rounded and memorable (at times lovable). This wonderful thriller, which begins and ends on the hard shoulder of the M5 motorway was a delight to read. This title will without doubt be included in my list of favourite reads of 2018. Highly recommended!
Belinda Bauer grew up in England and South Africa and now lives in Wales. She worked as a journalist and a screenwriter before finally writing a book to appease her nagging mother. With her debut, Blacklands, Belinda was awarded the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year. She went on to win the CWA Dagger in the Library for her body of work in 2013. Her fourth novel Rubbernecker was voted 2014 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Her books have been translated into 21 languages.