Book Review: In Too Deep – Samantha Hayes

Thank you to the author, publisher and the THE Book Club for my advance copy in exchange for an honest review. image

Published: 5th May 2016 (Century)

Synopsis: Four months ago, Rick went out to buy a newspaper. He never came back.

His wife, Gina, is struggling to deal with her loss, and her daughter’s mood swings are getting worse. Then she receives a phone call from a woman at a country hotel, confirming details of a booking Rick made before he vanished.

Desperate to find out more about his disappearance, Gina and her daughter take the trip. But there is something very strange about the hotel, and the family that run it.

Soon Gina is unsure that Rick even made the booking – but one thing is clear: both mother and daughter are in serious danger.

In Too Deep opens with an argument between an unknown woman and the narrator of the prologue in November 2014 which ends up with the narrator seemingly dying.

The narration then changes to present day, March 2015, and is from the point of view of Gina, wife of Rick who has been missing without a trace since the previous November after popping out to the shop to buy a newspaper. They have a daughter, Hannah, who is 18 and at university, they also had a son who died 5 years prior.

A mysterious woman calls Gina to confirm a booking made by Rick for the forthcoming weekend (which is their wedding anniversary). Gina knows nothing of this booking and is in two minds about going but finally decides to keep the plans and go with Hannah.

Susan is very pleased to greet Gina and Hannah at the hotel for the weekend and is an exceptionally attentive hostess, however Gina and Hannah are the youngest guests by far so it seems an odd choice of break.

The narration of the book changes from Gina and Hannah, giving alternate perspectives on the happenings in the present day and also those in the past that have brought them where they are today. Both Gina and Hannah are so emotional and focused on their own grief and concerns that they are often building a wall between themselves and not actually talking about the things that matter. As such, they are both unreliable narrators which really builds the tension as the book progresses.

I read the majority of this book during a 4 hour train journey and it certainly kept me engrossed (and I was especially disappointed when the train arrived in on time at the point of a massive cliffhanger!).

To begin with, the story feels like a little of a slow-burner however it is Hayes fantastic writing style to build the tension and before you know it the twists and turns are happening and you start to doubt the things that you believe are fact! The first third of the book certainly kept my interest but the next two thirds were fabulous due to the way the stories start to come together, I couldn’t wait to find out more.

About the author:

Samantha Hayes grew up in the West Midlands, left school at sixteen, avoided university and took jobs ranging from being a private detective to barmaid to fruit picker and factory worker. She lived on a kibbutz, and spent time in Australia and the USA, before finally becoming a crime-writer.

Her writing career began when she won a short story competition in 2003. Her novels are family-based psychological thrillers, with the emphasis being on ‘real life fiction’. She focuses on current issues, and when she writes, she sets out to maker her reader ask, ‘What if this happened to me or my family?’ With three children of her own, Samantha is well-versed to talk about how the aftershocks of crime impact upon families and communities.

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