- Belinda Bauer.
- 448 pages.
- Crime / Thriller / Mystery.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
SNAP DECISIONS CAN BE DANGEROUS . . .
On a stifling summer’s day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. Jack’s in charge, she’d said. I won’t be long.
But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed for ever.
Three years later, Jack is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother. . .
When their car breaks down on the hard shoulder of the motorway pregnant Eileen Bright leaves her three children, 11-year-old Jack and his two younger siblings Joy and Merry to go and call for help from an emergency roadside phone. Before she goes she utters a seemingly innocuous sentence to the children meant to reassure them during her absence “stay in the car, I won’t be long“.
Hours later, after Eileen fails to return, getting bored, restless and worried about the length of time that she has been gone Jack decides that the three children should go and look for their mother. They leave the car behind, set off walking along the roadside and they eventually come to an emergency phone. The phone is left hanging and there is no sign of their mother, she has disappeared, gone, vanished. Eileen’s body is found days later, she had been stabbed and murdered.
Three years later, Jack, Joy and Merry still live at the family home. After the loss of their mother, their father couldn’t cope and abandoned them, leaving them to fend for themselves, alone. Now a 14-year-old Jack is the ‘adult‘ carrying the burden, looking after and supporting his two sisters as the sole provider for the family. The trio maintains the facade of normalcy and the appearance that their father still lives at the house by living on the edges of society. They keep themselves to themselves, pretend to be homeschooled, fly under the radar of social services and hide in plain sight by pretending that everything is fine.
Jack provides for Joy and Merry as best as he possibly can and in the only way that he knows, by burgling houses. Eileen’s killer was never found, her case remains unsolved and apart from three damaged children, the world has forgotten about her. His mother’s death is a hole in Jack’s heart, a wound that can’t be healed and he has never given up, always searching for her killer. During one of his break-ins, he finds a clue, a unique knife that he remembers seeing, a knife that he is sure was used to kill his mother.
Meanwhile, there has been a spate of small-town burglaries and the burglar is dubbed ‘Goldilocks‘ by the police due to their habit of stealing only healthy food and sleeping in the children’s beds. One night, Catherine While, a heavily and vulnerable pregnant woman whose husband is away with work awakens to find a knife lying beside her on the bed alongside a note with the sinister message ‘I could have killed you‘.
The story in Snap is a tremendous multi-thread search for the truth about Eileen’s death that is connected and woven together involving Jack, Joy, Merry, Catherine, her husband, the police (I particularly liked the pairing of DCI Marvel, who gets the best lines in the book and his polar opposite DS Reynolds) and other eclectic and well-realised characters.
There are evocative, harrowing scenes and emotions that pull on the heartstrings in Snap. Twists, tension, suspense, grief, loss, humour and unexpected alliances are all on display within the pages too. Jack is a character that you will root for and even my blackened and cold heart thawed at the plight of the poor Bright children, what has happened to them, what they have lost and what they still yearn for.
Snap is a darkly addictive and entertaining page-turner that hits all the right notes.
Purchase Snap by Belinda Bauer.
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