Review published on April 21, 2017.
Peter Harper is having a hard time in life. Having had success as a composer and pianist, in his family and relationship as a father of two, things have fallen apart somewhat. His wife has found another man and his children are in another country with them. He is in the grip of composer’s block and decides a sabbatical from his daily life is needed to get him back productive and happy. He rents a beach house in Ireland, his closest neighbours being a kind American couple two miles away. You feel the wind and rain and isolation.One night he pops round for dinner and on the way home is caught in a storm and struck by lightning. Following this, Peter finds himself in the grips of severe night terrors and day hallucinations, visions of the people in his life suffering, exacerbating to the point he is unable to escape the distress.
Having never heard of Santiago before, I wasn’t sure what to make of this, he usually does music and writing, this is his debut novel. Even when I started reading it I found it hard to fathom what Peter was going through, is he in the grips of some kind of electrical effect from the lightening, or hallucinatory psychotic disorder, or having premonitions that will make sense later on? It certainly kept me reading, along with a great set of characters, well edited pace of story and sense of mystery, but yet how normal and everyday everything is too, including the people in his town. It kept me guessing and I had no idea who to trust or what was real or not. I spent about three days reading the first three quarters of it, enjoying it and being entertained as well as really immersed in the story, Then I hit the final run and my life stopped until it finished. It reminded me of a thriller film because there was so much action and I could have actually cheered and gasped at places. It’s the best ending of a book I’ve read in ages, so many end up being an anticlimax. This is not one of them. I will definitely read his next title, if it flows as well as this one and provides an escape like this one I’m sure I’ll be just as delighted.
Helen Corton 5/4
The Last Night at Tremore Beach by Mikel Santiago
Simon & Schuster UK 9781471150135 hbk Mar 2017
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