It is my great pleasure to be one of the two hosts opening the blog tour for Two Sisters by Kerry Wilkinson. The books is published today by Bookouture so a massive happy publication day to Kerry and thanks to Kim Nash for inviting me to take part in the tour. Before we take a look at my thoughts on the book, here is what it is all about.
The Official Book Blurb
They told us he had been missing for nearly two days, that he probably drowned. They told us a lie.
Megan was ten years old when her older brother, Zac, went missing among the cliffs, caves and beaches that surround the small seaside town of Whitecliff.
A decade later and a car crash has claimed the lives of her parents.
Megan and her younger sister Chloe return to Whitecliff one summer for the first time since their brother’s disappearance. Megan says it’s to get her parents’ affairs in order. There are boxes to pack, junk to clear, a rundown cottage to sell. But that’s not the real reason.
Megan has come to confront her family’s past after receiving a postcard on the day of her parents’ funeral. It had a photograph of Whitecliff on the front and a single letter on the back.
‘Z’ is all it read.
Z for Zac.
A totally gripping psychological thriller that will have fans of Louise Jensen, The Girl on the Train and The Silent Child absolutely hooked.
Having read some of Kerry Wilkinson’s Jessica Daniel series, I knew the guy could spin a good yarn. So when I heard that Bookouture were to publish a stand alone novel, Two Sisters I absolutely couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to read it. The story opens as Megan Smart is being informed that her parents have been killed in a car crash. No messing, no preamble, much like the officer’s relaying of the news we launch straight in. Now Megan and her sister Chloe have not been especially close to their parents, both packed off to boarding school as soon as possible and living largely separate lives, but it still comes as a shock, if only because of the cryptic postcard Megan receives just before the funeral.
It is this that leads Megan to drag her sister to the holiday home in Cornwall that they haven’t visited since the fateful summer ten years ago when their brother Zach disappeared. She knows that somewhere in the small village are the answers she longs for. Little does she know the startling chain of events that she is about to unleash by simply asking a few questions. Someone in the village knows something and it seems is willing to do anything to stop the truth from coming out.
Now compared to Kerry Wilkinsons’ police procedurals, there is a marked slowing of pace in Two Sisters. To be fair, this suits the sleepy and remote village location perfectly, and lends itself to the sense of foreboding and ill feeling that starts from almost the moment that the sisters set foot in Whitecliff. There is a complete lack of trust for outsiders from the locals, often typical of a small village location, and although the girls’ parents had a home in the village, very few people seem to have known them. Those that do are mysterious and aloof, and there is an air of dishonesty about each of them.
As this is a suspense rather than an out and out thriller, characterisation is key and the author has done a sterling job of creating the authenticity of the small town community, a village full of people who have known little other than Whitecliff for their entire lives. There is also an honesty about Megan who is battling more than the need for answers. Her fractious relationship with her mother has taken a toll on her personally and the nature of her condition appears well researched and represented. She is suffering from an eating disorder but this is not glorified or glossed over in any way. It is just represented, in Megans’s own voice, as they way that it is. She is acutely aware of what she is doing to herself but also that she cannot stop. There is no self denial, just an acceptance of who she is. Fair play to Mr Wilkinson for tackling this difficult subject and depicting it so accurately.
Chloe is a completely different character to her sister. Younger, she is shy and uncertain, but there is an honesty about her which is appealing. In fact both sisters are very likeable characters which is good as it is through Megan’s eyes that we see the majority of the action unfold. This complements the narrative as the reader is taken in by the same lies as Megan believes, and feels the suspicion that she feels. There is also that eeriness, the sense of menace, which accompanies the movement in the shadows, always just out of Megan’s, and our, line of sight. That spine tingling moment of doubt and apprehension as some of stark warnings to the girls first start to appear.
With all the dishonesty and the strange, sometimes violent, goings on you can feel the tension slowly building. It is quite fitting that the traditional Burning Boat celebration within the town should signal the start of the most nerve wracking sequence of the whole book. You know something is going to happen, but you cannot prepare yourself for the moment when everything reaches its shocking conclusion. There are so many suspects for what happened to Zach all those years ago littered throughout the book, so many people who appear guilty and could be trying to force Megan to leave, that it simply could be anyone. So much duplicity, so many lies. You will think that you know, but you really won’t.
If you like an intriguing and suspenseful read, full of duplicitous characters and mistrust, then you should absolutely give this a go. Fans of Kerry Wilkinson will not be disappointed.
My thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for the advance review copy of Two Sisters. It is released today and is available to purchase from the following retailers.
About the author
Kerry Wilkinson is from the English county of Somerset but has spent far too long living in the north. It’s there that he’s picked up possibly made-up regional words like ‘barm’ and ‘ginnel’. He pretends to know what they mean.
He’s also been busy since turning thirty: his Jessica Daniel crime series has sold more than a million copies in the UK; he has written a fantasy-adventure trilogy for young adults; a second crime series featuring private investigator Andrew Hunter and the standalone thriller, Down Among The Dead Men.
Make sure to check out some of the other brilliant blogs taking part in the tour this week.