It would have been downright impossible not to notice this book given its bright yellow cover and the fact that it was plastered across the majority of the tube stations across London. It was never a question of if I would pick up this book but more so of when.
The mystery style was a little different to what was expected. I was expecting a typically laid out murder mystery, whereby the murder happens relatively early on and the rest of the novel is spent trying to figure out the culprit. However this was quite different in that although the body is found within the first couple of pages, the identity of the victim is not revealed and rather than the novel focusing on unraveling the mystery, it’s more about the characters’ past and the events that led to the murder.
As such (and understandably so) there was a huge imbalance between plot and character development. In terms of plot, when looked at objectively not much happened. Admittedly, a murder did happen but throughout the book, the progression of the plot was touch and go.
It came as no real surprise that Emma was the murderer as well as the stalker – this was something that had flashed through my mind when the stalker was first mentioned. The revelation of this was somewhat anti-climatic. Nonetheless, Emma’s chapters had been carefully written in the sense that they were not misleading or false per se, they just did not give too much away.
A couple of plot holes were also present that weren’t quite explained; yet this was somewhat minor and easily forgotten about. For example, there was nothing said about Emma trying to kill Katie or the fact that she shot Heather – none of this was mentioned in the trial.
Some of the other scenes depicted were unnecessary – they served no purpose nor were mentioned again which was a tad confusing. A prime example would be the scene that Miranda witnesses when she is alone in the wilderness between the man and woman. It was completely pointless and downright strange. The setting was atmospheric, foreboding and chilly (no pun intended). It provided that extra layer of tension amongst the characters.
As the main focus was on characters, it makes more sense to spend more time speaking about them. None of the characters were particularly likeable to the point where it did not matter which one was murdered. In fact any one of them could have been murdered and it would have made no difference. They were shallow, self – absorbed and malicious to say the least.
However, it was curious that given the strong indifference towards the characters (that also melded in to pure dislike for a few), it was difficult to put this book down. The changing perspectives gave an insight in to the minds of the characters (especially Emma, Katie and Miranda) and the different dynamics within the group. Furthermore, it was interesting to see the various interactions of the group, the hidden meaning behind the words and laughter. The characters were sketched out with depth.
A baffling aspect of the book was given all the disdain, all the hate they have towards each other, how are these people are still friends so much so that they actually want to be in each other’s company. There’s history of course, but the question of whether that is actually enough remains.
However, one aspect that was brilliantly executed was how the story weaved in both the past and the present (there was also technically another tense embedded within the past tense chapters that delved further in the past). Not only this, but the identity of the victim was kept hidden, with a few clues scattered amidst the chapters, which kept a semblance of mystery
Until next time fellow readers,
P.S. Two fish are in a tank, one says to the other “how do you drive this thing?”