Redemption Road psychological novel told at a steady pace, one where the past meets the present in a book that provides much food for thought as well as a cracking good story.
Margaret Holloway holds a managerial position in a secondary school, driven and committed when she leaves the school one December evening she is caught up in a horrific multi-vehicle pile-up on the motorway near her home in Loughton. Margaret is rescued by a mystery man but she soon becomes obsessed not with the accident but the man who saved her life and her childhood. Margaret’s childhood is a mystery, not least to herself as she is unable to remember a period of it culminating in a stay in hospital.
In the past we move to the highlands of Scotland where we meet journalist Angus who is desperate for his big scoop which he sees syndicated by the nationals across the land however he is reduced to writing about mundane local matters instead. Well that is until seven-year-old Moll is abducted on her way to school. Seizing his chance Angus visits her parents, Kathleen and John where he thinks he has found a detail that is worth closer investigation.
Big George starts his tale from Thurso near John O’Groats in 1985 and despite never having made it to that part of the world the descriptions made me feel that I had, a touch only emphasised by the authentic details of the time, excerpts of songs, the need to use coins to telephone anyone and cars in need of constant repair quickly transported me to that age.
With each chapter alternating between the three narrators their respective beliefs and characters are revealed in layers, a touch that I particularly like. With both men in need of redemption the ultimate question is will they find it? The downside of the alternate narratives is that as the story progresses it is easy to predict the next part, I didn’t mind being caught up in the drama but for those looking for a thrilling read with twists and turns, this isn’t the book for you. It is a much quieter type of read but for me it was utterly compelling as I needed to know exactly how all the strands were resolved. Having said that as Big George is part of the gangland scene in Glasgow and Angus is a misogynistic religious fanatic there are scenes which are violent; this may be a story about family secrets but some of them aren’t pretty!
I chose this book after having thoroughly enjoyed The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne for the perception of the underlying issues the story was about, this one was equally satisfying for the same reasons. I like books where the characters are multi-faceted and this one entirely fits that bill as the motivations in respect of the character’s actions are slowly revealed. This is a book which on reflection has far more going on than may first be apparent.
I’d like to thank the Little Brown Book Group for allowing me to read a copy ahead of the paperback publication date of 16 July 2015 in return for my honest opinion.