Today I’m delighted to share my thoughts on The Six, the brand new standalone thriller from Luca Veste. This is the first time I’ve read one of this author’s books, in spite of having The Bone Collector on my TBR shelf for a while, but after hearing him talk about the book at Bute Noir, and hearing such a memorable (???) rendition of One More Time by Britney Spears, I thought it was about time I move a book up my reading list. My thanks to publisher Simon and Schuster for providing na advance copy via Netgalley (although I also bagged a hard copy a week early from Morrisons – bonus). Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
The brilliant new novel from the author of the highly acclaimed The Bone Keeper.Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Googleplay | Apple Books
Six friends trapped by one dark secret.
It was supposed to be our last weekend away as friends, before marriage and respectability beckoned. But what happened that Saturday changed everything.
In the middle of the night, someone died. The six of us promised each other we would not tell anyone about the body we buried. But now the pact has been broken. And the killing has started again …
Who knows what we did? And what price will we pay?
This is exactly the kind of book I can see working perfectly as a TV series. One of those three part serials that you catch on the BBC (other channels are available). It just had that kind of vibe and from the moment I started reading I could see it all playing out in front of my eyes so clearly. The tension building, the sense of unease that starts from the very first page. That short run of less than twenty lines being so ominous, so perfectly pitched that you cannot avoid being sucked in. Knowing that, when we meet this small group of friends, things are too perfect, too happy, to last
Setting off to a nineties music festival friends Matt, Alexandra, Chris, Nicola, Stuart and Michelle, none of them have any cares, other than the usual concerns of what state the portaloos might be in, and whether they can get a decent camping pitch. They’re (relatively) young, happy and (mostly) in love. Funny how you already know that feeling is not going to last. That this festival will be the last time they are together as a group. The last time they all laugh, dance and sing (badly) together. It would be a very short and dull thriller otherwise, wouldn’t it? The trip goes south, and I’m not just referring to its near to Bristol setting verses their proud to be in Liverpool homes. What happens changes them all. One moment of madness. One decision. One act that means no going back.
And that’s just the start. From here the tension builds, the sense of unease along with it and when we catch up with the main narrator, Matt, a year later, he is a very different guy. Luca Veste has captured this change in his character, the isolation, the almost agoraphobic nature that he has developed, perfectly, making you almost feel his palpitations and tremors as you read. He is a man on the edge, reliving their choices every single day, choices that have cost him nearly everything he holds dear. Despite all he had done, I really did like the character of Matt and felt for him, but only a little as a larger part of me thought he was a bit of a tit for making the decision he and the group made. Read the book, you’ll know what I mean.
From that point, about a third of the way through the book, it takes on a distinctly different tone, once full of fun and laugher, now full of threat and menace, a kind of conspiracy theory type tale in which the group find themselves becoming the target of a serial killer of near mythical status. Or are they? There is so much misdirection, so many possible suspects, that as a reader you are kept on the hook, wanting to know the answers to the many, many questions you will have. Those of a more nervous disposition might also find themselves checking their doors and windows a little more carefully at night, and binning any scarlet coloured Yankee candles they have lying around the home. Just in case.
Luca Veste really does instill that kind of edginess or fear in you as you read with the creeping nature of what is happening. Dark and atmospheric in mood and, with Matt’s own fears and neuroses infecting you as you read, totally heart pounding stuff. The sense that anything can happen, that the friends are being stalked, being picked off, is compounded with each page turn, and what once looked like a conspiracy theory starts to become more like a game of cat and mouse, one where the cat eats the mouse leaving no evidence that it was ever there …
I really enjoyed this book if only because, for once, this wasn’t the kind of book where the first person narrator/protagonist knows why they are being targeted but only thinks cryptically about the ‘incident’ until around 85% into the book because otherwise it would ruin the dramatic reveal leading to the inevitable high octane showdown. Here we knew from the start the what. We even had a pretty clear idea of the why, although perhaps not the whole picture. What we didn’t know was the who. And in spite of chapters littered throughout the book which start to build a picture of that very person, including the second part of what I suppose you would class as the prologue, the who remains well hidden until just the right moment in time. Until it is spelled out you get the feeling that it could still be literally anyone. And the ending is high action, high stakes and completely tense, the kind of showdown in which you find yourself moving towards the edge of your seat. Perhaps chewing on the odd nail as you wonder just how they will get out of this particular pickle.
And then … wow. Yep. That ending really is perfect for TV.
If this is what to expect from Luca Veste’s other novels, I’ll be moving them up my reading list for sure. Top stuff.
About the Author
Luca Veste is a writer of Italian and Liverpudlian heritage, married with two young daughters, and one of nine children. He studied psychology and criminology at university in Liverpool. He is the author of the Murphy and Rossi series, which includes DEAD GONE, THE DYING PLACE, BLOODSTREAM, and THEN SHE WAS GONE.
Part psychological thriller, part police procedural, his books follow the detective pairing of DI David Murphy and DS Laura Rossi. The novels are set in Liverpool, bringing the city to life in a dark and terrifying manner…with just a splash of Scouse humour.