This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
REVIEWED BY DEBS CARR
Charlotte arrives home to the minimalist, tastefully decorated Belsize apartment she shares with her handsome, banker fiancé, Dan. She might look immaculate with her shiny, blonde hair and perfectly manicured nails, but she’s stressed out from phone calls about her wedding the following week. The last thing she needs to do is go out that night, but when Dan tells her there’s problems at the bank and suggests going out to a Jamaican club in Kingston Town for some fun, she reluctantly agrees.
Dan offers Charlotte cocaine and for the first time in her life she accepts it. Their evening doesn't go well and Dan angrily confronts the owner, Anthony, when he laughs at him and tells him that Dan’s business card has been cancelled and he has to pay for his drinks.
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Keisha Collins has a very different life to the one Charlotte enjoys. She lives in a run-down, rented flat with her temperamental boyfriend, Chris Deans. Chris is her daughter, Ruby’s, father and also the reason the little girl has been taken from Keisha. She wants her daughter back, but has loved Chris since she first saw him at school when she was twelve and can't imagine her life without him in it. Thankfully, Ruby is being looked after by her mum, Mercy, so Keisha can visit her and knows she’s well loved and properly cared for.
Chris demands that Keisha dresses up and goes with him to the Kingston Town club, where he leaves her to discuss business with Anthony. She waits for him, but is furious to discover that Chris has gone home without her. She eventually arrives back at the flat and the next morning finds his blood-splattered shoes. When he tells her some fabricated story about stepping on a kebab, she lies, too frightened of his tempter to admit that she doesn’t believe him.
The next day, Dan Stockbridge is arrested for Anthony’s murder. DC Matthew Hegarty is given the task of solving the case. He meets Charlotte when he goes to the apartment to arrest Dan and is unable to stop thinking about her. Anthony’s sister accuses Dan of racist taunts when he was in the nightclub, but Dan is unable to recall what exactly happened to him that night and soon his life, as well as Charlotte’s, begins to rapidly fall apart. Keisha doesn’t care what happens to the immaculate, blonde, bitch, until she goes to visit Ruby at her mother's and discovers that Chris got there before her.
This compelling debut novel kept me riveted from beginning to end. I loved the contrast between the two women’s lives and the way each of them had to struggle against their individual weaknesses to overcome the unexpected hand they’d been dealt. As Charlotte’s life rapidly descends into an unmitigated nightmare, Keisha finds she’s put in a position where she finally has to take charge of her future. Although the two women are very different, they end up being thrust together and have to find a way to overcome the obstacles they now face. I can’t wait to read Claire McGowan’s next novel.