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Friday, September 27, 2013

The Back Road by Rachel Abbott

One girl is fighting for her life in hospital. One village is struggling to hold tight to its secrets.
When a young girl is knocked over and left for dead at the side of the road, the small community of Little Melham goes into shock. And why was Abbie out so late at night? Why wasn't she missed?
For Ellie Saunders, the truth about that night could put her marriage and even the safety of her children in jeopardy. She has to protect her family, no matter what the consequences.
Former DCI Tom Douglas thought that Little Melham would offer a peaceful retreat from the daily trauma of his work for the Met. But as he is drawn into the web of deceit, his every instinct tells him that what happened to Abbie was more than a tragic accident.
Only one person knows the whole story – why Abbie was out that night, and who was driving the car. For that person, the accident spells disaster, and somebody has to pay.
Having just finished reading The Back Road , I can understand why Rachel Abbott's first novel, Only The Innocent, reached the Amazon no.1 slot and stayed there for so long.I expect The Back Road will do the same. Not only is it tightly plotted, with intricate twists and turns, the writing is also of the highest standard.

The novel opens with a punch in the gut and goes on to tantalize, Leo and her sister Ellie have some seriously bad family history, but both girls have made good - Leo is a successful Life Coach and Ellie has an apparently perfect marriage and affluent life-style. Ellie has just moved into their childhood home - which she has inherited - and is having a dinner party to celebrate its renovation. Leo has come, reluctantly, and is courageously trying to face her demons.

The pace slows, momentarily, for us to meet the dinner guests - a mixture of childhood friends and their partners and a new, very attractive, policeman who has recently moved into the village. The celebrations are overshadowed by a terrible accident that had occurred the previous evening - when a young girl had been knocked down on the back road and left for dead. Ellie is nursing the girl in the hospital intensive care unit and the prognosis isn't good.
The story is an exciting and complex one, where past and present echo and reflect one another. I love the fact that every time I thought I knew what was happening she would throw in a curve ball, but in a Rachel Abbott story there's more there than immediately obvious. This is a tightly written psychological thriller, very nicely paced, and I enjoyed it very much. My attention was caught and kept by the intrigues of the people in the village. I wasn't able to guess the full implications until close to the end. It seems to me that some of these characters might appear again in further works by Rachel Abbott, as their story and their possibilities haven't been exhausted. I hope to see the characters in another novel.

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