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Reproduced with kind permission of Hodder

Reproduced with kind permission of Hodder

I loved this story. It’s told by Karen, an unassuming wallflower who is swept up in the unlikely friendship of Biba, a free-spirited aspiring actress, and her buttoned-up brother Rex. Drawn into their hedonistic party lifestyle and their circle of daring bohemian friends, Karen is besotted with both siblings, but it is Rex who wins her love completely. Karen’s initial entrancement with Biba slowly becomes tempered by the realisation that her friend is self-centred and high maintenance, but it takes a horrifying crime and its terrible consequences before Karen can finally stand up for herself and break free. It’s a sad story but one easy to identify with – who hasn’t been starstruck with someone more exciting, confident and outgoing than themselves? It’s easy to identify with Karen as narrator, and as the twists in the plot slowly unfolded to reveal the full picture, the ending felt inevitable and utterly believable. A cast of very intriguing characters and a sympathetic, plausible heroine made this a very enjoyable crime novel, something a little different, and one to curl up with in the evenings, getting lost in the world of these carefree spirits. Rating: ***

Afterword: it’s also about to become an ITV drama….

Hodder, 2011, ISBN 9781444701050