Wednesday, 8 January 2014

What Lies Within by Tom Vowler

 review by Maryom

Anna has always loved her remote Dartmoor home but when a prisoner escapes, for all her outward calm, she begins to feel vulnerable and threatened. Her husband is out working on the Moors at all hours and her son seems to be taking his 'angry teenager' moods to a whole new level - depsite her husband's assurances, Anna can't believe Paul's rages are just part of growing up.
Meanwhile, a young teacher is settling in at her first job, full of idealistic schemes to make a difference, but then the unthinkable happens and she is attacked by one of the pupils. Struggling to deal with what has happened, all she can do is go home, to the one place she feels safe but even there her version of events isn't accepted unquestioningly.
Gradually the two threads twist together into a compelling psychological thriller.

Oddly, this book has been languishing on the TBR pile since last Summer. I don't really know why it's been neglected in favour of other, and in hindsight sometimes duller, books unless maybe the cover and its blurb put me off. What ever reason, once I started it, I couldn't put it down.
What Lies Within explores the aftermath of sexual assault and the concept of nature-versus-nurture within the framework of an intense thriller. It's the sort of book that has me racing through the pages, wanting to know if my plot-guessing theories are right, but left me pondering over some of the issues raised - particularly, faced with the same circumstances, "What would I have done?". As the title says, not all danger lies outside, sometimes it's lurking within us.

Although he's published a collection of short stories previously, this is Tom Vowler's debut novel and I'm hoping there'll be more from him soon.

Maryom's review - 4.5 stars
Publisher - Headline
Genre - adult crime, psychological thriller

Buy What Lies Within from Amazon

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