Today it’s my great pleasure to be joining the blog tour for Anything for Her, the latest release from author G.J. Minett. I have an extract from the book to share with you all, as well as my thoughts on the book, but first off, let’s take a look at what it is all about.
The Official Book Blurb
You’d do anything for the one that got away . . . wouldn’t you?
When Billy Orr returns home to spend time with his dying sister, he bumps into his ex-girlfriend Aimi, the love of his life. He might not have seen her in eleven years, but Billy’s never forgotten her. He’d do anything for her then, and he’d do anything for her now.
When Aimi tells him that she wants to escape her abusive husband, Billy agrees to help her fake her own death. But is she still the Aimi that Billy remembers from all those years ago?
Once Aimi disappears, Billy has to face the possibility that perhaps she had different reasons for disappearing – reasons that might be more dangerous than she’s led him to believe . . .
Sometimes trusting the one you love is the wrong thing to do.
Anything For Her
So she’s taken to diving into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, checking photos for faces that crop up on a regular basis. She does the same with names, hoping one will stand out after a while and hint at some sort of attachment. A few months ago she picked up on the fact that a pretty girl with oriental features seemed to be draped around Billy in several photos and the name Nuan started to feature with encouraging regularity. She went as far as Googling it and discovered it means affectionate which seemed like an encouraging omen. Then, just as she was starting to get her hopes up, Billy posted photos of a party he and his friends had thrown to say goodbye to Nuan, who had apparently finished her course and was heading back to Jiangsu. Mia had to work hard to keep that particular disappointment in perspective.
Matthew finds her obsessive interest in Billy’s social life highly entertaining, although not in an unkind way. He does his best to reassure her, tells her that when he himself was not all that much younger than Billy is now, the last thing he was thinking about was narrowing down the field and looking to settle down. He was casting his net as wide as he could until he met her and having a terrific time too. He’d be more concerned if Billy wasn’t doing the exact same thing. It’s how males are, he tells her. They don’t find the idea of monogamy very appealing at that age.
He also thinks she’s a bit unfair when it comes to Aimi. He says her assessment is necessarily filtered through a shared history that would make it impossible for anyone to remain objective. He won’t come out and say she’s always been too close to her brother and resents the idea of anyone else coming between them, just as she’s never given voice to her conviction that even an intelligent and perceptive man like Matthew can lose all perspective over a simpering smile and a casual toss of the hair. These are shadows that are tucked away in a dark recess of their relationship, waiting for the right moment to show themselves.
No, when it comes to Aimi, fairness isn’t high on her list of priorities. She can remember so clearly that first time when Billy brought home this alarmingly self-possessed girl with the ingratiating smile, the little silver cross at her throat, the dancer’s physique which endowed her with an almost feline quality as she moved about the house. It could have been mere coincidence that she appeared on the scene so soon after the delayed inquest and the attendant media interest which plucked Billy from relative anonymity amongst his contemporaries at school. Mia however didn’t think so for one minute. The girl hadn’t been there more than two or three times before the dynamics in their relationship became apparent. It was clear Billy was never going to come anywhere other than second.
She told Matthew very early on that she hoped Billy wasn’t getting too carried away because Aimi was all wrong for him. He couldn’t understand what her problem was but she was right then and she’s right now. The last thing Billy needs is for Aimi suddenly to materialise out of nowhere like this.
What a book. So many secrets. so many lies, so much betrayal. I really don’t want to go into the plot any more than the blurb has expanded. This is a book about a young woman who disappears and the impact upon an old school friend who helps her. This is very much Billy’s story, more so than it is Aimi’s although from the prologue I was immediately intrigued by her circumstances and the mystery which seems to surround her. These are very murky waters that our protagonists are paddling in. It is clear that they all need to keep their eyes very much open in case the tide should quickly turn.
What I loved about the book is the constant feeling that there is something we are just maybe missing. Some underlying clue which is lurking just beneath the surface if only we can reach it. This slow revelation of the truth kept me as a reader focused on the action and loathe to turn away. You know from the off that something is not quite right but not what or how. And nothing can prepare you for the extent of the deception either.
One of the most interesting things about the story is that fact that while Billy may seem quite innocent and perhaps a little naive at times, there is a part of his history, and even his present, which brings his ultimate reliability into question. And yet there is no doubting the facts of what has happened. Billy’s story is tragic, one of immeasurable loss, and his current circumstances lend themselves to a very sympathetic view of his predicament. He is naturally trusting when it comes to Aimi, but will this be his undoing? Well you’ll have to read to find out.
The bad guys in this piece? Well it’s really hard to say. So many folk who could easily be cast in that role. The mysterious Albanians or even Aimi’s family, the Vedras. Certainly the way in which the Vedra family are portrayed, local gangster types with undeniable power and reach, makes them formidable opponents. Whilst Aimi’s husband Joe holds a certain quiet tension and brings into question the reason for her disappearance, and his brother TJ is the brawn, if not the brains, of the operation, it is clear that patriarch Jack is in control. He is menacing without needing to make any direct threat and you can feel the power he exudes through the writing. In fact, the only truly good person in the book appears to be Billy’s sister, Mia, and even she cannot find it within her to be entirely honest with her brother. It is, at the end of the day, hard to know just who to believe.
Tense, and intriguing, this book held my focus from start to finish and I can’t wait to read more from this author. a highly recommended read.
Anything For Her is available now in ebook format and released in paperback in the new year. You can purchase a copy of the book from the following retailers:
About the Author
G.J. Minett studied at Cambridge and then spent many years as a teacher of foreign languages. He studied for an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester, and won the 2010 Chapter One Prize for unpublished novels with the opening chapter of The Hidden Legacy.
My thanks to Emily Burns at Bonnier Zaffre for inviting me to be a part of the tour. Do make sure to check out some of the other brilliant blogs taking part.