When I started reading the first chapters of The Judas Scar, I had no idea of where it was going. The novel opens with the savage beating, probably to death, of an unidentified person, before switching to a happy carefree scene of two couples - friends Will and Harmony and Emma and Ian - having a picnic in a park. This wrongfooted me, leaving me unsure how the violent opening scene would fit in with the story and this sense of impending doom hovered over the whole narrative, as I knew that it was lurking behind a corner waiting to jump out at an opportune moment.
Even without this tension, though, things are not all well and good. Will and Harmony are trying to come to terms with a recent miscarriage and a party at Ian and Emma's house sets a ball rolling that will upend everyone's worlds like a line of skittles. Harmony announces that she wants to try for another baby and is shocked by Will's response. One of the other guests also turns out to be a ghost from Will's past, forcing him to face up to a lot of things he would rather forget about from his tormented childhood.
It's a chilling pageturner that looks at friendship, loyalty and betrayal, as well as the untold secrets that many of the characters have lurking in their pasts or presents. My only problem was that I didn't actually really like any of the characters - they all did despicable or morally dubious things that led me to think that they deserved whatever they got, so I would have preferred to feel a bit more empathy for at least one of them. I still couldn't wait to get to the end and find out how the opening scene finally unfurled though.
It's a cleverly written novel with some really chilling moments and an intricate plot where so many things slot into place at the very end that I'm tempted to start reading it all over again so that I can see the story weaving itself together along the way.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £8.99
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Cutting Edge Press (1 May 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1908122714
- ISBN-13: 978-1908122711
Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book in order to give my honest opinion.
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