Beneath The Fear~Sheila Rawlings.

When I was approached to read this, the write up was really intriguing; young woman sees her husband murdered in a bank robbery gone wrong and goes to a holiday home in her families much loved chosen destination (Cornwall) in order to recover after a rocky time of it. Samantha, the leading lady, finds herself under the limelight of her overly eager neighbour, Tony, as well as the new handyman on the block, Nathan. Sam is also pushed in to considering moving on from her late husband by childhood friend Suzy. However, as Sam starts to piece together the missing parts of her trauma, she finds herself in the middle of an awful predicament and is left fighting for her life.

It sounded truly energetic and thrilling, however for me it was 356 pages lacklustre, flat and over-played drama. There was just too much of it sadly, and it just seemed to drag. The boom could easily have been 100 pages less and a lot more fast paced and edge-of-your-seat reading. Also some of the descriptions were just a little too much and there were some annoying inconsistencies that you wouldn’t notice them unless you really knew the scenario, for example, Securicor doing a bank drop would actually have the case chained to one person and many guards actually have bodycams and during the robbery the case is not chained and there are no body cams. A prime example of the descriptions being too much is also during the robbery; Sam notices the get away car is a black Audi A1 Sportback and the robbers were armed with Beretta handguns- please tell me in a moment of crisis how anyone would take note of these things? Another thing that irked me was this; we don’t need to know the characters are wearing Ray-Bans sunglasses and we don’t need to know the exact brand of aftershave a character loved to wear. It deflected a lot of attention from the set up of the atmosphere to these brand names and felt a bit like when you see brand-dropping in TV programmes (to me at least).

I found that when it came to describing the progression of the handyman and neighbour and their stance in Sam’s life, Rawlings began to write a bit like a love struck teenage girl writing her own story about how the two popular boys in school both fancy her. I feel like the set up would have been there still if it were written a lot more subtly.

The plot was good though! I liked the idea! However there was too much of a gap between important events. I feel that the look in to Nathan’s life with the chapter in the pub with Clive (his buddy and co-worker) could have been strategically placed a lot earlier, meaning more of an atmospheric build up. Suzy did not need to be so immaturely pushy when it came to Sam moving on (she was just widowed! Have some humanity!) Despite Suzy’s reasons for backing Tony, which were shown to us at the end, it made me feel very cross for Sam (there are just something’s you don’t push, even with your best mate).

I feel that this would make a good TV adaptation but a lot of it would be left out as it wouldn’t hold an audiences attention if it was unabridged.

I’ve not read Rawlings previous title “Truth & Revenge” and I’m not entirely sure it’ll be in my list anytime soon, but I would be curious to see for myself if her writing style and structure were different.

Sadly I can’t recommend Beneath The Fear. I would be interested in hearing other people’s opinions of this book though.

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