Today I’m sharing my thoughts on The Fall by Rachael Blok as part of the blog tour. My thanks to publisher Aries for the advance copy for review and to Sophie Ransom of Ransom PR for the tour invite. Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
The sins of the past echo in the present in the new literary thriller from crime-critic favourite, Rachael Blok.
The bigger the sin, the further the fall…
With Easter approaching, the verger of St Albans Cathedral was supposed to be readying the church. Instead he discovers a man lying dead, fallen from the famous 150-foot-high tower. Did he jump, or was he pushed?
For DCI Maarten Jansen, it’s a simple case of suspected suicide. Until a stranger, Willow, who witnessed the jump, prompts a deeper investigation into a long-buried past, involving a psychiatric hospital, a pregnant woman, and fifty years of silence. As Willow’s own family history entwines with the case, Jansen starts to wonder how everything is connected.
The Fall is a haunting literary thriller about loss, trauma, silence, and how our past shapes who we are.
Got to be honest – this is exactly why I don’t do heights. It’s not the being up high bit that bothers me so much as the potential for falling to my death, which is exactly the fate that befalls the victim of Rachael Blok’s latest novel, The Fall. This is the first time I have read a book by this author, but I was drawn into the narrative straight away, intrigued as to why the might be facing such a tragic fate – and it is no done deal at the start of the book, not quite anyway. There is clearly something that has happened, something we are not yet privy to, and it got my brain ticking over immediately. It’s quite an awful way to be dispatched, and in such an iconic location. But that is just the start, the mystery that follows, part murder investigation and part missing person case, is twisted, intelligent and altogether consuming.
I really liked the Detective pairing of DCI Maarten Jansen and DI Adrika Verma. They are both intelligent, solid characters, not swayed by the fact that the case takes an unexpectedly personal turn for one of their team. There is a solemnity to Jansen as a character, but I found him easy to get to know and a good character to spend time with throughout the course of the investigation. He has a real instinct for what is happening around him, and is not swayed unnecessarily by the seemingly obvious nature of the case. Suspicion may be pointing in one direction but there is more to the case than meets the eye, something we, the readers, are privy to that Jansen and co thus far are not.
There is a kind of duality to the story line and cut away scenes which feed our understanding of the bigger picture, but not necessarily how you might think. I thought I had an idea, but I was wide of the mark at times, and there is plenty of misdirection, and a whole host of potential suspects, although the motive is not immediately apparent for any of them. There is a really dark edge to this story, one which tugged at me on an emotional level and completely rewrote the way I felt about what was happening and what had happened. The book really does touch on key social issues, including mental health, abuse and dark family secrets, and although there are little clues here and there, you need to be very canny to spot them.
This is perhaps a slower paced story than a lot I have read of late, very deliberate and literary in style, but it works perfectly in this case. There is a sense of jeopardy, of there being secrets just waiting to be revealed, that kept me on edge throughout, but with a brilliant cast of characters, and a very vividly portrayed setting, I was completely immersed in the story from start to finish. I definitely feel like I need to go back and read the books I’ve missed so far in the series. Tense, intriguing and with a beautifully structured storyline, this is a book I could heartily recommend.
About the Author
Rachael Blok grew up in Durham and studied Literature at Warwick University. She taught English at a London Comprehensive and is now a full-time writer living in Hertfordshire with her husband and children. Her thrillers Under the Ice, The Scorched Earth and Into the Fire have been widely acclaimed.
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