Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Split Second Cath Staincliffe
The first issue with this book is where to categorise it.
It seems to be in the crime thriller bracket but I'm not convinced that's where it belongs.
The beginning of the book introduces us to a group of unrelated people going about their usual lives. Very quickly everything is drastically altered by one incident.
A stabbing occurs and the remainder of the book deals with the fallout one such incident can cause.
It is incredibly well written. The impact on the families, the shock is almost tangible, the despair of a witness who had the chance to intervene and didn't, all of these emotions are played out.
There is nothing chick lit about it and yet as far as it's category- yes, there's a crime but there's no real mystery and no thrill. But this doesn't mean it's not a good book- it is, to my mind it's exceptional.
The very real thoughts of the father as he tries to deal with the loss of a son while still being a husband and trying to help his wife, the struggle to do so, the glimpses of a person who his logical mind knows cannot be there. The kick of realisation as the void left by his son is brought home on a regular basis. None of the emotions are frilly, they are very simply there.
The identity of the culprits doesn't remain unknown for very long and before long we are privy to each characters's way of dealing with knowing who did this to their families. It ranges from the primeval wish to retaliate through to the blind faith that justice will out.
Through to the court case and the uncomfortably real questions that are asked of each witness and the blow is almost felt as the slam dunk of what could possibly be happening on the stand falls into consciousness.
Yes, this is how it works. Any tiny inkling of possibility will be magnified again and again to try and make sure that a person stays out of jail. This is what the defence is for.
The book opens eyes cruelly to what could possibly happen. The thoughts of the family in the court as some family members are allowed to step outside for part of the evidence whilst others have to stay to have some of their memories mauled by the legal system are described in a taut way and lay bare the raw disbelief in the process.
Some of the best characters I have come across in a while with a broad variety of them. One that stayed with me.

The decider- would I buy another book by this author?
Hell, yes!

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