I love beautiful language and a thoughtful complex plot as much as anyone but I had been thinking recently that it has been a long time since I have been quite so engrossed in a book, turning the pages (well clicking the clicker) to find out what on earth is going to happen next, and reading in the moment. While that thought breezed through my brain little did I know that I had just such a book, sitting on my kindle ready to read and review; that book was 24 Hours.
I discovered Claire Seeber many years ago when I read her debut novel Bad Friends, a title I will never forget because having enjoyed this so much I packed it up and posted it to my friend with nary more than a post it note saying ‘Enjoy, Cleo xx’. Once the postal service had shipped it across the water, I received a phone call from said friend asking if I was trying to tell her something? Anyway I digress, suffice to say when I saw that Claire Seeber had been signed up by Bookouture I was eager to read her latest offering.
24 Hours is as you might expect. set over just that time period, and we follow Laurie in the present time, and tense, who is racing against time to get to her daughter Polly. To complicate matters Laurie’s best friend Emily has just been killed in a fire, a fire which Laurie believes was meant to result in her own demise.
Each alternate chapter is set in the past, although the ‘then’ chapters aren’t in chronological order they give us an insight into what led to Laurie’s predicament. In a nutshell Laurie thinks that her ex-husband Sid, a feted artist, now ensconced with his model girlfriend wants her out of the way following her insistence that he shouldn’t see their daughter Polly for a while. Polly is returning from Disneyland Paris with Laurie’s mother while Laurie has been spending the days in Devon relaxing with her oldest and dearest friend Emily. Terrified by the events during the night and convinced that Sid wants her dead Laurie feels compelled to reach Polly as she arrives back from France before Sid does, even if that means hiding from the police who are investigating the fire at the hotel.
This book was structured really well, despite the change in time periods between the chapters it was easy to keep track, the headings clearly signpost both the time period and the number of hours into the chase counting upwards from hour dot to 24 hours. The change in tense between the chapters really helped keep track of the time period, I do enjoy book that look back as well as forward but it is incredibly easy to get confused if this isn’t handled carefully.
This is one of those books to be enjoyed, to go with the flow and get wrapped up in the tension because to be honest Laurie makes some pretty stupid decisions. This is an action led rather than a character led book, and because of that close examination may leave them a little lacking in substance, but I truly believe that in this type of book, as long as there are enough hooks for the reader to paint the picture, this isn’t really terribly important.
This psychological thriller, actually lives up to the thriller part of the moniker, something that many books in this genre lack, giving this reader enough heart-racing moments that were a measure of how involved I felt in this desperate race against time novel.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to Bookouture for allowing me to read a copy of this book, ahead of the publication date of 9 October 2015 in return for this, my honest opinion.