Thursday, 26 March 2015

How I Lost You - Jenny Blackhurst 5* review

I have no memory of what happened but I was told I killed my son. And you believe what your loved ones, your doctor and the police tell you, don't you?

My name is Emma Cartwright. Three years ago I was Susan Webster, and I murdered my twelve-week-old son Dylan. I was sent to Oakdale Psychiatric Institute for my crime, and four weeks ago I was released early on parole with a new identity, address and a chance to rebuild my tattered life.

This morning, I received an envelope addressed to Susan Webster. Inside it was a photograph of a toddler called Dylan. Now I am questioning everything I believe because if I have no memory of the event, how can I truly believe he's dead?

If there was the smallest chance your son was alive, what would you do to get him back?

Under the new name of Emma Cartwright, Susan Webster has just been released from a Psychiatric Unit for the murder of her baby son, a murder which she can not remember commiting. They labeled her condition as the rare and extreme for of postnatal depression, Puerperal Psychosis. She was quite sure she had neither though.

She relocates to a small Shropshire town and tries to keep under the radar hoping people will have no knowledge of the woman she used to be and hopes to put to bed the woman she once was. But someone posts a recent photo of a toddler through Emma's door with her son, Dylan's name on the back.

Emma goes into freefall as more chilling objects arrive and when her home is vandalised things take an extremely sinister turn that forces her into action, to find whether her son really is still alive.

WOW! I love a good psychological thriller, I'm a really big fan of Mark Edwards and Louise Voss, Rachel Abbott, Nicci French et al, but this debut from Jenny Blackhurst blew me away. I have often stayed awake until the small hours reading, but never coupled that with a 5am start the next morning to finish the book. I think the phrase 'I couldn't put it down' is much overused, however in this case. . .

The modern day tale of Emma/Susan (this may seem more complicated than it actually is) is interwoven with a story of a gang of boys in the late '80s spanning the '90s. They're turning rapidly more disquieting and it takes a while to see where this fitted in to the plot (but when you do)!

It's very fast paced which is what gives is the page turning compulsion and has the most amazing twists. But the really clever element of the book is how well the plot is written, there are no holes, no real questions left unanswered and the characters all fulfill their roles well. For a debut novel Blackhurst really does present a huge talent and I can not wait for more from her.

Many thanks to Georgina at Headline for exchanging a copy for an honest review.

Find Jenny here on Twitter   

If I could give this more than a 5 books rating I WOULD!

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