Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Stone Bruises by Simon Beckett

review by Maryom

Sean is speeding flat out through France, trying to put as many miles as possible between him and something that happened back in London. The reader doesn't know what's happened but there's blood on the front passenger seat and seat belt, a polythene-wrapped packet of 'white powder' in the glove compartment and bruises all over Sean's face. His car is running out of fuel, so he dumps it, smashing off the number plate and removing anything that could identify it, and continuing on foot despite the heat.Trying to avoid an approaching police car, he jumps a fence into a wood - only to be ensnared in a man-trap. Delirious from pain and lack of water, he's eventually rescued by two women, the daughters of the wood's owner, and taken to their farm where he is nursed back to health. At first forced to stay by his injuries, Sean finds himself drawn to the elder daughter Mathilde and the mystery that seems to surround the farm, but he soon begins to wonder if he would have been better off facing his troubles in London.

Stone Bruises is a tense psychological thriller that starts full of menace, and just winds it up from there. Set mainly in France with flashbacks to Sean's life in London, the two story-lines unfold side by side and had me racing through to uncover their secrets. The "French" sections grabbed me most; the setting, which could have been so idyllic, contrasting sharply with the man-made atmosphere of barely suppressed violence that fills the place - the aggressive farmer, his violent pigs, man traps placed to keep everyone else very firmly outside.The only down-side was that I found some of this plot predictable; the London based story-line didn't hold me at first but proved more surprising in the end.

 Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher -
Bantam Press
Genre -
adult, thriller,

Buy Stone Bruises from Amazon

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