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Tuesday, August 17, 2021


Pass on reading this one, hoping her next book is back up to her normal engaging standards. (Review by Christine E Hann)

Lesley Pearse is a renowned British author of fiction. Her writing styles follows many genres, as such, she has a wide following of readers. She started her writing career at 49, after having worked her way through several jobs, including nanny, bunny girl, dress-maker and a full-time mother. She lives in Devon and is a mother to three daughters and four grandchildren. Suspects is Pearse’s 29th book.

Pearse is an author whose books I enjoy reading, as a result I was excited to read her new book Suspects. The book is set in the July of 2009 in a housing estate on the outskirts of Cheltenham.

The story is based on the inhabitants of Willow Close and the 10 families around the central park area. Next to page 1, is a diagram of the close and who lives in which unit. I checked it out briefly, then found I kept having to refer to the diagram over the next few chapters, as there were so many characters, that were all linked to the murder mystery that unfolded. Not the norm for me at all.

The story begins with the discovery of the body of one of the Close’s inhabitants, ChloĆ«, a child that lived at number 1. A child that most of her neighbours perceive to be filled with talent, and potential. An only child of parents that doted on her.

An investigation into the killer is launched, and as it progresses, we discover that there are many sinister secrets amongst the Close’s 10 families. The “close-knit” community falls apart to an extent as suspicions run riot, as each secret is exposed. We get to know the hero of the story - Conrad, who moved into the close with his wife on the day the murder takes place.

You read on with a growing sense of disbelief as they get drawn into the unfolding events, leading them to wonder if buying into Willow Close really was such a great idea after all, and the reader to seriously consider if the plot could happen in the real world. Towards the end of the story, another child dies, a sad testament to broken relationships, and the selfish pursuits of friends and family members alike. Who was the murderer? From the beginning it was clear who the guilty party was, and she paid for it dearly, as did her family.

Suspects was a disappointing read, and not one that I can recommend. The character portrayal was not up to standard, and those included represented many of the more unpleasant personality types that inhabit this world. Male, female, and children alike. What little light there was to be found in characters like Conrad and Nina, and eccentric but good-hearted neighbour Janice (who also had a dark secret) was drowned out by other characters and events, many of which were just not plausible.

Pass on reading this one, hoping her next book is back up to her normal engaging standards.

Some of the other books by the same author: Liar, The Promise, Stolen, Rosie and Survivor.

Suspects is published by Penguin Random House UK – 2021. ISBN: 9780241426623 – Christine E Hann