Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Fall - Claire McGowan

‘Everything could crumble. Everything could fall apart. She knew that now.’

An intriguing, short prologue already has us wondering, who is this, what has happened, and why? Then we meet the two main female protagonists, Keisha and Charlotte; two very different women drawn together by a crime. Charlotte seems to have a very happy life, she has a successful career in PR, and is deeply in love and very soon going to marry Dan, her partner, who is a wealthy banker. They have a gorgeous flat and all the good things in life that money can buy. Keisha has a miserable life by comparison; dead-end jobs, a young daughter who has been taken away from her due to Keisha's violent boyfriend Chris, and she has little to look forward to. These backgrounds have contributed to their different characters, which are revealed as the story progresses; whereas Keisha has developed a tough, hard exterior and is prepared to take people on, Charlotte is more subdued, less used to confrontation, and is hit hard by what happens when Dan is arrested for the murder of a nightclub owner. A little later we meet the other main character, DC Matthew Hegarty, the detective investigating the murder; he is thrilled to have made the arrest of Dan, but has a suspicion that everything isn't quite as cut and dried as it might have seemed, and he also feels an inconvenient but undeniable growing attraction for Charlotte. 

The author has written a gripping story, and at it's heart for me is the compelling portrayal of the two women, their very different backgrounds and lifestyles clashing but the common factor of their both being present one night in a club in Camden bringing them together. When Keisha arrives at Charlotte's flat, Charlotte wonders, ‘how was she to talk to this girl, so different to her, so full of angry energy that she hummed with it?’ Despite all of the hardship in Keisha’s life, she can see how much Charlotte is struggling with all the trouble that her new situation has dealt her, and she finds that she ‘really did feel sorry for Charlotte…the poor little rich girl.’ They both have to deal with so much as a result of the murder, to work through all the threads, the half-remembered details, the anxious feelings: ‘It was as if they both had a suitcase full of troubles that had to be upended.’

I really liked how the narrative skipped about between the three main characters, it made for a pacy read, and I was always looking forward to reading the next part from each of them. It’s an intriguing story, with dry humour at times. It's also very timely, including the less than honest aspects of Dan's profession.

This novel is about love, relationships, violence and criminal activity, honesty and trust. As Keisha remarks, ‘you never knew anyone, not really. You never knew what someone would do, or how many ways they would let you down.’

An involving, character-driven page-turner of a debut. I eagerly look forward to reading this author’s next book.

Published by Headline

You can follow the author on twitter @inkstainsclaire and visit her website here

Claire McGowan is currently the Director of the Crime Writers' Assocation

Find out more about the Crime Readers' Assocation here

Reviewed for Amazon Vine


  1. I'm sure I have this on my tbr mountain though the cover on it is different.

    Glad that you enjoyed it, thanks for the recommendation.

    1. Thanks for your comment :) Always nice to meet another reader with a mountain of tbr books!


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