Michael Joseph 2002
Abbie Devereaux wakes in the dark. She is hooded, bound at her hands and feet. She doesn’t know where she is or how she got there. A man she never sees feeds her and talks to her. He promises to keep her alive for now, but says he will kill her – like the others. But Abbie has spirit, strength and bloody-mindedness on her side. She counts the seconds she is alone, tells herself stories, remembers her life, talks to her captor and plots her survival. Above all, she dreams of returning to normal, careless everyday life – the land of the living.
Among her memories are a horribly stressful career and a disintegrating relationship with her boyfriend, Terry. Could there be a connection between her real life and the voice in the darkness? And how can she survive in a place where fear becomes madness and the effort to survive seems too much to bear…?
After a slow start this was a quick read as Abbie, in the first person tells her story following waking to find herself held captive by her unidentified captor.
An early novel by the thriller team that is Nicci French (husband and wife team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French), this pair for me have never so far disappointed.
Abbie is a terrific, unreliable narrator who believes she knows what happened to her, despite some amnesia. Unfortunately for her, most others have their doubts about Abbie’s account, leaving her alone trying to seek justice and ensure her own safety.
For me the middle part of the book was brilliant. I had mixed feelings about the end, although appreciated the fact that the ending was neither drawn out or farcical.
All in all a great thriller with a strong plot and cool lead character in Abbie. I thought the treatment of Abbie was interesting in terms of offering a view about how female victims of crime are treated, particularly when there is a lack of compelling evidence – which can often be the case.
Given that this book is 16 years old, I wonder has anyone else read this or anything else by Nicci French? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading.