Friday, 10 February 2017

Book Review: BLINK by KL Slater


Title: Blink
Author: K.L. Slater
February 2017
Expected publication: 16 February 2017

Synopsis (Goodreads):

What if the person you love most in the world was in terrible danger … because of you?

Three years ago, Toni’s five-year-old daughter Evie disappeared after leaving school. The police have never been able to find her. There were no witnesses, no CCTV, no trace.

But Toni believes her daughter is alive. And as she begins to silently piece together her memories, the full story of the past begins to reveal itself, and a devastating truth.

Toni’s mind is trapped in a world of silence, her only chance to save herself is to manage the impossible. She must find a way to make herself heard. She must find her daughter.

A compelling, gripping thriller with a breathtaking twist that will keep you awake until the early hours. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, Behind Closed Doors and The Sister.

My thoughts:

A young widow. A missing child. An unknown woman in a coma. A troubled teacher. How are these people linked?

After the tragic death of her husband whilst on active duty in Afghanistan, young mother Toni Cotter tries her best to raise her 5-year old daughter Evie on her own. As if things were not difficult enough, the pair has to move to a new neighbourhood in order to be able to afford paying the bills and to be closer to Toni’s mother, leaving their friends and support network behind. With their old life gone up in flames, Toni struggles psychologically with the aftermath of grief and the burden of responsibility of being a single parent, relying on sedatives to make it through each day. Evie is having trouble settling into her new school, her once cheerful personality giving way to moodiness and anxiety. When Toni starts a part-time job to make ends meet, she is forced to rely on her mother’s help to pick Evie up from school some afternoons. One day Toni receives a call from the hospital that her mother has had a fall and sustained some serious injuries. Caught up in traffic on the way to the school to pick Evie up herself, Toni is running late. When she finally gets there, the school gates are locked, and a mother’s worst nightmare has come true - Evie is gone.

In a hospital bed lies a woman in a coma who is being kept alive by machines. Noone knows who she is, and she has long been given up for dead. But deep inside her unresponsive body, her mind is very much alive and alert, and she is silently crying out for help. If she could only blink her eyes ...

I loved the premise of the story – a mystery revolving around a woman with locked-in-syndrome, a neurological disorder causing the paralysis of all voluntary muscles but retaining intact cognitive function. Trapped like a prisoner in her own body, this person may have the answer to the secret but is unable to communicate. It sounded really intriguing! However, reading it as a trained health professional there were too many holes as big as bear traps in this story to make it believable. I certainly won’t spoil it for anyone, but personally I found it hard to suspend disbelief enough to make it through some chapters without rolling my eyes, and this really ruined the read for me.

As for “the killer twist you’ll never forget”: does this have to be announced prominently on the cover? Knowing that as a reader you need to question everything you read takes the fun out of the journey, and makes every false lead stand out like a giraffe in a crowd of zebras. There are plenty of red herrings thrown into this story, sometimes with the subtlety of a wet fish slapping you in the face. Admittedly, one worked for me. The others didn’t. Some characters seemed to appear only with the purpose of leading the reader down the garden path, and were never heard from again after that, which is a shame, when so much effort was being invested in them originally. For me, a “twist” is a clever manipulating of the story rather than a complete change in direction without any prior warning. Personally, I felt a bit cheated. In summary, not the right book for me, though I am sure that a lot of people will love it.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

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