Today it is my great pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for the brand new psychological thriller from Rachel Abbott, And So It Begins. I’ve been a huge fan of Rachel’s work since reading The Back Road and was so excited to hear that she was branching out to try something a little different. Couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and have to say a big thank you to publishers Wildfire Books, for providing an advance review copy and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part. Here is what the book is about:
About the Book
WHO WILL BELIEVE YOUR STORY IF THE ONLY WITNESS IS DEAD?
Cleo knows she should be happy for her brother Mark. He’s managed to find someone new after the sudden death of his first wife – but something about Evie just doesn’t feel right…
When Evie starts having accidents at home, her friends grow concerned. Could Mark be causing her injuries? Called out to their cliff-top house one night, Sergeant Stephanie King finds two bodies entangled on blood-drenched sheets.
Where does murder begin? When the knife is raised to strike, or before, at the first thought of violence? As the accused stands trial, the jury is forced to consider – is there ever a proper defence for murder?
Oooohhhh. Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. There is so much I want to say about this book but it is so difficult to do so as there are many elements which could easily slip into spoiler territory. This is the story of Evie, a young woman who meets photographer, Mark, and his sister, Cleo, when she commissions him to take some pictures of her for her father. Work turns to love and soon Evie and Mark are a happy family unit, complete with a beautiful young daughter. But not everything is as it seems and even a beautiful cliff top home, one which to those outside looking in appears much like a fortress, cannot keep the secrets locked up for long.
The opening of this book is brilliant. Two police officers called to Mark and Evie’s home after a distress call from the address. What they find is horrific turning the stomach of even the most experienced of investigators, but this will not be a simple case to solve even if they appear to have a confession. From here on in the first half of the book primarily focuses upon events which led to that fatal night, to how Evie met Mark and how the police came to be drawn into such a twisted story. This is a deliberately slow burning read, and you can feel the tension and the intrigue build with each page turn, drawing you in and making you question what is visible on the surface and what lies beneath, unseen and unspoken. It left me with many ideas as to what may be happening but also as many questions left to answer.
A good proportion of the second half of the book deals with the court case in which many of those outstanding questions are answered. Again, this is not a fast read, but Rachel Abbott still keeps you on the hook as a reader as more and more secrets are revealed, and you are forced to question even the most simple elements of the crime that you thought you knew. There appear to be no easy answers to the questions posed by both the Prosecution and Defence. And one thing which is abundantly clear throughout the whole story, is that you cannot rely on any of the protagonists to give you a clear picture. This is a book full of unreliable narrators, with scenarios which will make you doubt their integrity nearly every step of the way.
I can’t say that I particularly liked any of the characters in the story and yet I was still compelled to read onward. There are really only two who, by the end of the story, I felt any kind of sympathy for, both of them ultimately victims in a dangerous and deadly game. This is such a twisted and thought provoking read, and the author managed to manipulate my emotions so brilliantly that I went from sympathy to anger in no time flat. She definitely threw in a good few red herrings along the way and whilst the ending was not particularly a surprise, she still managed to catch me unawares with an unexpected revelation.
Overall this was a truly engrossing read that I finished in a day. It has a strong theme of family, forcing the reader to think about just how far they would go for their loved ones, and if the ends, in this case in particular, can ever justify the means. I loved the way in which the tension and uncertainty was created very early on and how the story drew me in, leaving me with the need to know the absolute truth. Definitely recommended.
If you would like a copy of the book for yourself then it is available from the following retailers:
About the Author
Rachel Abbott began her career as an independent author in 2011, with Only the Innocent, which became a No.1 bestseller on Kindle, topping the chart for four weeks. Since then, she has published five further psychological thrillers, plus a novella, and sold over 2.75 million copies. She is one of the top-selling authors of all time in the UK Kindle store (published and self-published), and her novels have been translated into 21 languages. This is her first traditional publishing deal, though she’s been approached many times.
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