FIRST CUT

Written by Ali Knight

Review written by Angela Hatherell


FIRST CUT
Hodder & Stoughton
RRP: £19.99
Released: 5th July 2012
Hbk

At first I thought I would not enjoy this book, although the beginning was promising. At her thirtieth birthday party Grace, owner of a prosperous gastropub, is discovered, by her best friend Nicky, floating in the lake with her throat cut.

So far so good. Then we go forward five years, when Nicky has married Grace's widower Greg, who is a film cameraman and away a lot, and we get the background: Nicky's job as a journalist writing obituaries. There is much office chat, and a general faint atmosphere of Womans' s Own. I left it for a few days.

When I went back I persisted, and my goodness I'm glad I did! Gradually more strands of this very complex plot were revealed and their pace quickened.

Enter a villain, Troy, con man, blackmailer, hired assassin. Enter Nicky's husband, Greg. The marriage, at first idyllic, has become strained. Greg has something on his mind, he has mood- swings: at times he is loving, then goes distant, shutting Nicky out. Enter Greg's family, Liz, the hostile sister. Enter, peripherally, Lyndon B, Troy's employer.

 And finally, enter Adam, a pivotal part of the plot. Nicky comes across Adam on a plane journey, by chance, when he helps her with her luggage, Or is it by chance? He is young and very attractive, and Nicky, now thirty five years old, is mildly taken with him.

Now we have all the strands, and as they begin to twist together their pace quickens. Adam has an Aunt Carrie, who was a bouncer in a night club, and as she must have met famous people Adam suggests to Nicky that she might be a good subject for an obituary. He takes her down to his old, deserted, creepy family home to look at old photographs and suchlike. But has he an
ulterior motive?  He is acting strangely; Nicky becomes scared and tries to leave. Adam won't let her, and even handcuffs her to a radiator. From there on things happen so fast and, and there are so many shocks that I am still confused. Nicky's spectacular escape, with a sprained ankle, strains credulity somewhat, but it is completely gripping, and I should not nit-pick!

You need a good stretch of time to enjoy this book to the full. It is some time since I have been so completely absorbed and taken out of myself. This is Ali Knight's second book, and now I need to read the first. It is hard to imagine how she can beat it, but I hope to goodness that she does!  

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