My partner knows psychological thriller writer, Louise Jensen, and he was invited to the launch party of her latest book, The Family. He could take a guest so I jumped at the chance when he asked me if I’d like to go along. I had met Louise at the Harrogate Crime Festival earlier in the year and had been meaning to read one of her books, but I hadn’t got round to it. Now was my chance, so I bought a book at the launch party and of course, asked her to sign it for me.
The blurb says:
‘Laura is grieving after the sudden death of her husband. Struggling to cope emotionally and financially, Laura is grateful when a local community, Oak Leaf Organics, offer her and her seventeen-year-old daughter, Tilly, a home.
But as Laura and Tilly settle into life with their new ‘family’, sinister things begin to happen. When one of the community dies in suspicious circumstances Laura wants to leave but Tilly, enthralled by the charismatic leader, Alex, refuses to go.
Desperately searching for a way to save her daughter, Laura uncovers a horrifying secret but Alex and his family aren’t the only ones with something to hide. Just as Laura has been digging into their past, they’ve been digging into hers and she discovers the terrifying reason they invited her and Tilly in, and why they’ll never let them leave…’
That night, after the launch party, I eagerly started The family. It didn’t take me long to read. The short chapters, end-of-chapter hooks and compelling storyline, told through the first-person viewpoints of both Laura and Tilly, as well as the third-person viewpoint of the mysterious, Alex, had me unable to put it down.
What hold did Alex have over them? What secrets was he hiding? What would happen if Laura tried to leave? Could she leave her daughter?
There were a few coincidences here and there but with the numerous twists and turns, it didn’t matter. Just when I sat there, all smug as I’d worked out what was coming next, Louise would throw a bomb in and I’d be left with my jaw hanging open at the latest revelation.
The storyline is a great concept and the book as a whole makes a thoroughly gripping, enthralling read.