Who do you believe?
In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack.
She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim’s life that is changed forever.
Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.
And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something – and someone – is always in the dark…
First of all apologies for the lack of book posts, I have been a little poorly and as such had lost my reading mojo, but fear not, thanks to He Said/She Said it is back with a vengeance!
What. A. Book. Written by Erin Kelly, author of, amongst others, The Ties that Bind, The Poison Tree (which was also a TV series I believe) and co-writer of Broadchurch, He Said/She Said is a deftly written psychological thriller full of twists and turns. Set in both the present day and during the August solar eclipse of 1999 it tells the story of Laura and Kit who in the aftermath of the eclipse witness an attack which has repercussions for the next 16 years.
Laura and Kit live in London and are expecting twins; Kit has been chasing solar eclipses since he was young and Laura has caught the bug. Being pregnant with twins Laura decides to stay at home whilst Kit travels to the Faroe Isles to see the March 2015 eclipse. Laura is anxious and nervous about his trip, for reasons that aren’t immediately clear, whilst Kit reassures her that everything will be fine. Interspersed with his trip are flashbacks to the first solar eclipse they saw together in Cornwall in 1999, the attack they witnessed and the subsequent court case and their resultant friendship with Beth, the victim.
I do love a book which is dual narrative (the story is told from both Laura’s and Kit’s point of view) and multiple time frames and, in less capable hands this may have felt clunky and choppy but the pages whizzed by. This isn’t really a whodunnit, it is more an explanation of what happened and whether everything is as it seems. The multiple view points mean that the story is built gradually with different perspectives of the same event. The tension is really ramped up and just when you think you are on solid ground Kelly pulls the rug out from under you.
I loved the way the book was separated into sections represented by the five stages of a total eclipse of the sun; first contact, second contact, totality, third contact and fourth contact representing the different pieces of the puzzle coming together. There are also some absolutely beautiful passages describing eclipses, which were spine tingling and really made me want to go eclipse chasing!
I also admire how Erin Kelly didn’t shy away from the difficult subject matter of rape and a rape trial. The courtroom scenes are particularly well written and are tense, horrifying and upsetting. This is a book which is centred on a heinous act and tackles head on the criminal justice system and the treatment of rape victims both in court and in the media.
This is an exceptionally clever psychological thriller which kept me guessing and hasn’t been far from my thoughts since I finished it and i’m sure that this is going to be the book of 2017. Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for the advanced copy in return for a fair and honest review; it was my pleasure. He Said/She Said is out today and can be bought here
Rating: 5 Stars
Read: April 12th – April 15th