To be published in January 2015
Alison is as close to anonymous as she can get: with no ties, no home, a backroom job, hers is a life lived under the radar. She’s a nobody; she has no-one and that’s how she wants it.
But once Alison was someone else: once she was Esme Grace, a teenager whose bedroom sat at the top of a remote and dilapidated house on the edge of a bleak estuary. A girl whose family, if not happy, exactly, was no unhappier than anyone else’s – or so she thought.
Then one night a terrible thing happened in the crooked house, a nightmare of violence out of which Alison emerged the only witness and sole survivor and from which she has been running ever since. Only when she meets academic Paul Bartlett does Alison realise that if she’s to have any chance of happiness, she has to return to her old life and confront the darkness that worked its way inside her family and has pursued her ever since.
Strikingly atmospheric and compelling, this psychological thriller is about one woman’s search for the truth in a closed community full of dark secrets.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for allowing me to read this book.
This is a story of secrets and lies, set in a small community. The kind of community that closes ranks when something happens and you have to live there for a hundred years to belong. A family is murdered, with only one survivor. A teenage girl. We meet that survivor, Esme or Alison as she is now called. Alison is still in shock and cannot really remember the precise details of the murder of her siblings and parents. Alison lives a quiet life in London. A wedding takes her back into the community that destroyed her family. Alison is forced to go back and confront the past. She starts to question and remember.
This is a completely new author for me. Christobel Kent writes an impressive and rather outstanding mystery.
The story is one of coming to terms with tragedy and moving on, as well as being a fascinating whodunit. Alison is such a lovely complex character. We get a sense of her grief, trauma and pain, as the narrative moves to the past and the killings. We get to know her as she is now, a woman who wants to move forward and find answers. Alison is very courageous going to back to the house, where her family were killed and to the community that instantly recognizes her.
I loved the setting of the community and its characters. There is a really strong sense of place and a great visual feel to the writing. I could easily imagine the ‘Crooked House’ as a drama on television.
Overall I loved the book and was sad to finish it! Kent is an author I will look out for again.