William Morrow | 27 October 2020 | 528 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
The book opens with our protagonist, Tabitha Hardy, being held up in a cell and is on remand for the murder of Stuart Rees. Tabitha has recently returned to her old hometown in Okeham to refurbish her house left by her late parents. Stuart's body was first found in her shed by her handyman friend and while Tabitha has a history of depression and traumatic stress which was caused by a sexual abuse when she was fifteen, she has no recollection of murdering Stuart despite he abused her years ago. With no one to turn to for support, Tabitha knows she can only depend on herself to fight the case when her legal counsel advises her to plead guilty for manslaughter with mitigating circumstances. Despite having no knowledge of the law, Tabitha strives on defending for herself for the need to prove her innocence and to find the truth. Together with Michaela, an ex-cellmate and now her McKenzie friend, they attempt to solve the case just when everyone thinks she is insane and that she has no chance of overthrowing the trial.
Truth be told, I'd had a bumpy reading experience initially due to the slow pace and on top of that, Tabitha wasn't a person whom you could warm up to easily given her erratic temperament. However, as the story progresses, I find myself intrigued by Tabitha's story both present and past and not to mention her meticulous findings despite being confined in a small cell. So, while she may not be a likeable character, I still find myself rooting for her eventually.
I'd end this review by saying that Nicci French (pseudonym of English husband-and-wife team) has written quite an engaging thriller with a perfect combination of suspense and courtroom drama. Would recommend if you're a fan of these two genres.
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