This is a mystery set very firmly in Scotland with realistic characterisation and rather more unexpectedly, an examination of how family relationships evolve over time.
Isla McTeer is devastated when she is called to identify the body of her twin brother, Dougie who has pulled from the Tyne River in Glasgow. Dougie, a former marine had returned to Edinburgh following Isla’s separation from her husband and in turn became an even larger part of her life, even working for a different branch of the same company; Isla works in insurance and Dougie was a Private Investigator. After the initial shock subsides Isla starts to question why Dougie had gone to Glasgow and this is the question no one can answer.
Isla’s father comes to stay with Isla for the funeral while her younger sister Marie makes a flying visit from Norway, unable to leave her young children for long. When Marie starts pushing to sell Dougie’s house his ex-wife Tania gives Isla a piece of information about his trip to Glasgow that she can’t forget. Isla raises concerns about Dougie’s death but the police are adamant that it was an accident, he simply fell into the river while drunk.
I liked the format of this book with the current action, and there is plenty of this, is interspersed with episodes from Dougie’s life as remembered by his twin in the form of a conversation with him. These are effective in building a picture of the family as well as being a realistic tool in illustrating Isla’s grief as she lives with the loss of her brother. She had depended on him so much during her life and now she wants to return the favour by finding out exactly what happened on the night he drowned.
There is quite a lot crammed into this book and not all the stories are followed through to a neat conclusion so if you are a reader that likes everything tied up in a big bow, this isn’t the book for you, although neither is this a completely open ending, there are answers, just not to everything.
For me the psychological look at families as a whole, and not as you’d imagine specifically twins, was an interesting twist. Our interaction with our siblings and parents changes over the years but frequently these references are simplified into the children taking on the role of parents as the later age, but in Now That You’re Gone the context is much wider providing a really satisfying read on many levels.
I am very grateful to the publishers, Hodder & Stoughton, who provided me with a copy of this book in return for my honest opinion. Now That You’re Gone was published on 5 June 2014
Previous Books by Julie Corbin
Tell Me No Secrets
You can bury the past but it never dies …Her name was Rose and she was nine years old when she died. I’m not going to make excuses for what I did. I’m going to tell my story as it is and as it was. This isn’t the beginning but it’s a good place to start …Grace has lived in the same village on the east coast of Scotland for almost her entire life. Safe and secure, it is the perfect place for her and her husband Paul to bring up their twin girls. And so, despite having to contend with the trials and tribulations of her adolescent daughters and the increasing onset of Alzheimer’s in her beloved father-in-law, Grace feels that, finally, life is good. Until, that is, a phone call from her old best friend, a woman she hasn’t seen in years – and for good reason – threatens to take away everything she holds dear. Grace is about to discover that some secrets can’t remain buried forever … Amazon
This was one of the first books I bought on kindle and awarded it five stars and instantly purchased her next book,
Where the Truth Lies
Claire’s husband has been keeping secrets. About the whereabouts of the witness to the murder trial he’s prosecuting . And about the letters he’s been getting, threatening to kill their three-year old, unless he tells the blackmailer where the witness is hiding. With their daughter’s life at stake, it is left to Claire to untangle the web of lies and half-truths and find out just who might be responsible. And to stop them. Before it’s too late. Amazon
This was followed up by an equally accomplished book in
Every Vow You Break
When her teenage son Robbie’s drink is spiked, Olivia Somers is devastated. She has spent her adult life trying to protect people and keep them safe – not only as a mother, but also in her chosen profession as a doctor. So she tries to put it down to a horrible accident, in spite of the evidence suggesting malicious intent, and simply hopes no-one tries to endanger those she loves again. But someone from the past is after revenge. Someone closer to her family than she could possibly realise. Someone who will stop at nothing until they get the vengeance they crave. And, as she and her family come under increasing threat, the oath that Olivia took when she first became a doctor – to do no harm to others – will be tested to its very limits. Amazon