John Michael Adams committed a horrifying crime at his school in 1966 and now in 1974 he and his father are trying to rebuild their lives after having to go off the radar.

1974 – Josef Kasprowicz follows Frank O’Halloran to Inverness to conduct an interview which he hopes will allow him to lay his demons to rest. But can bad memories ever really be erased?

2008 – Ellen Sutherland has been left a cottage by Eudora Nash, a woman that she has never heard of. When she goes to visit though, it quickly becomes clear that the village knows all about her. She just doesn’t know how. When she mentions the name to her mother, who often struggles to remember her own daughter’s face, the vivid memory the name induces creates a grip so strong the frail woman breaks the glass she is holding. Who is Eudora, why has she left this cottage to Ellen, and what did she do to Ellen’s mother?

Although the narrative follows Ellen, Josef, John and his father in their respective time frames it is the presence of seedy reporter Frank O’Halloran that threads these three stories together. He darkens many a door throughout the novel and it seems that wherever he goes trouble follows.

Dual story-telling is a method which some authors struggle with however, Minett handles it with elegance and ease. Although he has woven a complex tapestry which culminates with the surprising final twist, there is never any confusion about which character’s story you are following at what time.

This novel draws you in from the beginning with a spine-tingling prologue and keeps you guessing throughout. As a debut novel this could be a tough one for Minett to beat but I certainly hope that he gives it a go as I look forward to seeing more of him in the future.

By The Novel Blogger, Amy Walker.