Review published on March 31, 2017.
This is a contemporary slow-burning suspense thriller that flits in time between 2015 and 2000. It captures the complexity of a couple’s relationship, which initially appears solid and balanced, but as the story progresses and you scratch beneath the surface, it isn’t what it first appears to be.
Readers are introduced to Laura in 2015. She is pregnant, prone to panic attacks and practices mindfulness to counter this. Her partner Kit studies eclipses and we learn about how they met and shared a love for these eclipses and, most importantly, when they encountered Beth…
Beth, now known as Liz Taylor, has legal anonymity following a court case. This was a rape trial prosecuting the rich upstart Jamie. Laura witnessed the sexual encounter and, as a consequence, both her and Kit were involved in the rape trial in Cornwall. And so it comes to down to who saw what and who said what. But Laura tells a little white lie that haunts her. She is unable to disclose this to anyone, something that has her in knots, something she fears will come back to bite her.
The story gradually unfolds to reveal what truly happened. There is an intricacy to the tangled relationships between Laura, Kit and Beth. The dialogue is as much about what isn’t said as is said. In this way, it weaves a clever and intoxicating story that incorporates a fitting but unusual backdrop about eclipses. All the characters are memorable and distinctly evolve as the story progresses. Essentially, there are a good number of twists that occur in such a way that the effect is gradual and rhythmical, but nonetheless transpire markedly and memorably.
The writing has a means of holding you and drawing you into its nuances. It gets you thinking and cleverly captures how remarkable personal interactions and relationships are. Much is told in the first person, which lends itself to the character’s personal and often unreliable interpretation of events around them. It allows us to see how we filter what we see and hear to our own preferences and interpretations. It is realistic amidst the simmering personal devastation that is experienced. In all, everything about this book atmospherically resonates, so that there is a reading afterburn long after finishing the book, which is always a great effect to have and the sign of a solid, good read.
Sara Garland 4/4
He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly
Hodder & Stoughton 9781444797152 hbk Apr 2017