Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow. I just fell into this book and couldn’t get out and my mind is still reeling. From the first page I knew I was sunk:
“Before she knew what was happening, the knife was in and out of his body. Over and over, sinking deep. It cut through the air, mesmerising them, slowing their lives, condensing everything to the beautiful moments just before it happened, just before it entered him, just before their worlds changed forever.”
I will confess that the first thing that grabbed me about this novel was the plot: a complex thriller about a boy – the son of a famous television show host – who is stabbed at his school. How could I not be intrigued? But, the essence of this book was the characters who filled it. Dayna, a young girl who doesnt’ fit in, who is bullied and bashed and struggling to make something of herself. Carrie, a self-made famous television presenter who is so interested in her career that she ignores her family until they virtually disappear. Brody, a Professor of mathematics who is blind on multiple levels, unable to see what is right before him and incapable of saving his son, despite his efforts. And Max, the possible hero of this book (although each character seems a hero in their own right), a complex possibly mentally disturbed individual, who struggles to find a place for himself in the world and is desperate for his mother’s love.
Together these characters provide an intriguing insight into the tapestry that is British society – although it could well be any society – and this is in turn reflected in the novel’s themes. Parenting, gangs, teen pregnancy, human relationships, social dynamics, the role of the police, each of these issues is explored in various ways throughout the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this read – enough to stay up on numerous nights until well after midnight to keep reading! – and I will definitely be searching for more Sam Hayes.