I really enjoyed Hidden by this author and pondered over both the plot and its execution so I was really keen to read her debut novel Falling which was published last year.
This book opens with us meeting Cecilia Williams a flight attendant based in Wales, a place she never intended returning to. That very morning she had packed her bags leaving her husband and young son. Without a backward glance, convinced she has made the right choice she prepares to board the flight, directing the passengers to their seats before take-off. And then both passengers, crew are in the terrifying scenario of a plane falling from the sky. As the plane comes to settle on a snowy hillside torn in two with only a handful of survivors, everything has changed, or has it?
Parallel to this story is that of retired Police officer Jim who on visiting his daughter’s home finds her missing. Jim visits the police station hoping to find his old friends and is instead confronted by a board duty officer more interested in his phone that taking down the details or being remotely interested in the disappearance of Libby, a Community Support Officer. Once the crime is finally reported the man who leads the investigation into her disappearance is Cecilia’s husband Tom.
We also hear from Freya, the daughter of the deceased pilot where she reflects on her life with a rather distant father yet at the same time supporting her younger brother and her distraught mother. There are secrets in this family too, some better hidden than others.
This book is populated by a wide selection of characters, some more likeable than others. I found it difficult to sympathise with Cecilia in particular but as the storyline progressed I came to understand, if not like her. But these characters don’t act in isolation they all have relationships with others and sometimes crossover between the individual stories that I found myself immersed in. Like the characters the relationships cover the range, from close and caring to distant and remote with a scattering in-between. The relationship between Tom and Jim was both authentic and touching, a lovely touch that is often overlooked in this genre of books. The richness of both characters and plots didn’t fail to engage me and I was desperate to piece together all the various elements.
And then there is a setting which in the depth of winter, those cold days that are currently thankfully behind us, gives an added chill to the various mysteries that populate the pages of this intriguing and fresh feeling novel.
This book is multi-layered, complex and deals with difficult issues but it does it so very well. The different viewpoints give a depth to the stories being told and lifts what could be one very confusing sets of episodes into a tautly and engaging read. It is billed as a psychological thriller and the psychological element is definitely present, I’m not quite so sure it fits into the thriller genre being one of those books to ponder over rather than one that gets your heart racing.
I’d like to thank the publishers Landmark who are publishing this book in the US under the title After We Fall on 2 June 2015, for allowing me to read this book in return for an honest review.