Friday Face Off : The Drift by CJ Tudor

Posted On 27 January 2023

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FFO

Today is the second week of a new Friday Face Off  (a meme originally created by Books by Proxy) – similar in many ways to what came before but different going forward.  From 2023 I will no longer be posting prompts or themes to guide cover choices.  Instead, having noticed that many of my most recent reads have had more than one cover,  I thought instead it would be a change to highlight something that I’m keen to shine the focus on. So, if you have a book that has alternative covers, highlight them and choose your favourite.  If you’re taking part it would be great if you leave a link so I can take a look at what you’ve chosen.

My book this week The Drift by CJ Tudor. I’m loving this author’s work and this is no exception.  Really well done indeed.

Here are the covers:

My favourite this week is :

thedrift

It’s really tough to choose a favourite this week because I really like both covers. At the end of the day it comes down to the simple fact that the red cover is so eye catching – it would definitely draw you in if you saw it on the bookshelf.

Join me next week in highlighting one of your reads with different covers.

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The Drift by CJ Tudor

Posted On 17 January 2023

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My Five Word TL:DR Review: Clever, ever spiralling downwards, horror

The Drift

Well, this was a surprise.  I don’t think I looked at the description for this one at all before I picked it up.  I really like the author’s style and quite often these days prefer to pick up my reads knowing as little as possible.  So, yes, this was a surprise.  A compelling read, totally engrossing in fact, it’s not going to give you a grin on your face when you’re reading but it will keep you turning the pages into the early hours and it’s just the most unusual combination of post apocalyptic survival meets locked room mystery (well mysteries to be correct) that I’ve ever read.

I really don’t want to give away too much about the plot with this review because I’m keen to avoid spoilers, primarily because the story follows three POVs and certainly one of the ‘big’ intrigues is trying to figure out how these three characters are connected.  What I can say without giving away too much is this is a novel that takes place in the near future (I don’t recall seeing any dates but that’s where I would hazard a guess).  A pandemic has changed society beyond recognition killing great swathes of the population.  Those that survived, known as Whistlers because of the noise they make when breathing, are altered into an almost zombie like state, a few becoming violent and bloodthirsty.  The remaining population are basically trying to stay alive whilst hoping for a cure.  I would say, before going further, that this isn’t a typical zombie apocalypse type story so if that isn’t usually your type of read then this may still be of interest.  Of course, the Whistlers still play a part here, this is horror and it can be quite bloody and brutal in parts, but this is more a suspenseful thriller, a race against time and a locked room style mystery that is positively claustrophobic.

We have three key characters.  Hannah, a young woman trapped on board a coach that has careened off the road killing a number of the passengers in the process and effectively leaving the others trapped on board.  It doesn’t take long before a couple of characters figure out that the journey was sabotaged before it set off.  Meg is an ex police officer who wakes up to find herself on board a cable car, she has no idea how she got there, her personal possessions have been removed, the car is stuck (very high above ground) and a storm threatens, on top of that there are others on board and one of them is already dead.  The final character is Carter.  He is based in a retreat with a number of other characters, the place is protected by electric fencing and digital locks but unfortunately the power seems to be faltering and with it any semblance of security (not to mention the locks on the doors in the basement).

I found this totally absorbing and I loved the way the stories eventually come together because it was completely unexpected – which could of course be simply a result of my tiny brain not making the necessary leaps to connect the dots – but, I think it’s very clever, well executed and compelling.

The writing is excellent, the characters really jump off the page, the pacing is perfect and there’s a steady stream of action mixed with periods of reflection.  The dialogue is really good and manages to prevent the book from becoming dismal or too dark.

On top of this I loved that we start off with a number of players in each story and eventually they become less in number.  It’s like a less cosy version of an Agatha Christie novel (think, for example, of And Then There Were None).  Gradually, we lose characters along the way, the central POVs eventually start to discover more about their companions and eventually the reveals are made, with much drama and jaw dropping.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, this isn’t a laugh out loud sort of story, the characters are in a fight for survival and quite often make shocking decisions.  At the end of the day they’ve become almost immune to death and used to making tough decisions to stay alive – as is stated during the story ‘the earth is full of dead good guys’.  The thing is though, this could very easily become the type of read that feels too dark and maybe drags you down but that’s not the experience I had.  I think I was too caught up in the mystery of the three and how they would come together combined with the intrigue of each of their own separate stories and how they would each overcome the difficulties they were facing.

I enjoyed this very much, it was quick and clever, darkly humorous at times, horrific at others and frankly unputdownable.  A cunning plot executed with confidence and ease.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the author, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4.5 of 5 stars

Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Drift by CJ Tudor

CWW

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is: The Drift by CJ Tudor:

The Drift

Prepare for the big chill . . .

A crashed coach full of students . . .

A stranded cable car full of strangers . . .

An isolated chalet full of friends . . .

Outside, a snowstorm rages.

Inside one group, a killer lurks.

But which one?

The Drift. . . survival can be murder

Expected publication : January 2023

December Countdown, Day 25 : Christmas Day

December book meme (details here).  Christmas Day – choose one from the wishlist: (due out January)

Burning

The Other People by C.J. Tudor

Posted On 20 January 2020

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TheOtherPeopleThe Other People is such a great read. It’s a psychological thriller but what makes it so gripping and so tense is the fact you simply have to know what’s happened. I remember watching a film a few years ago, a guy and his girlfriend at a service station and the girl goes missing and her boyfriend becomes all-consumed with knowing what happened to her, to such an extent that he’s even prepared to put himself in danger.  Okay, I’m not saying that I put myself in danger by reading this book (just to be clear) – although there were late nights. What I’m really getting at is that the author manages to put you into the central character’s shoes.  He’s desperate to know what happened and as a reader you become totally wrapped up in his desperation.  Your curiosity is heightened to a ridiculous level, you feel sorry for him and almost want to shout hints but more than that you’re willing the story forward in order to unravel the mystery and that, for me, is a winning story.  On top of that there are stories within stories taking place here that gradually feed into the main thread.  So many lives all connected, primarily, by the need for revenge.  An eye for an eye.

The story is compelling virtually from page 1.  There is a mystery girl who lies in a room alone – but I won’t elaborate further on that aspect of the story.  Moving swiftly on, we then make the introduction of Gabe, who is the main POV character although not the only one.  Gabe is on his way home, worried about being late and stuck in traffic, he’s idly looking at the car in front, and reading the abundance of stickers plastered over the back, when a little girl sits up on the backseat, a girl who looks exactly like his own daughter, you can only imagine the turmoil his mind spins into when this little girl sees him and mouths the word ‘daddy?’ The traffic then lightens and the car in front pulls ahead, disappearing into motorway oblivion. Gabe knows his daughter can’t be in that car.  He knows she can’t. But at the same time he knows what he saw and with every fibre of his being he knows it was his little girl.  As it happens, whilst Gabe was on his way home, his wife and daughter have been murdered.  Gabe becomes the main suspect for a while and whilst his story of the car on the motorway is listened to with scepticism absolutely nobody believes that his daughter was in that car.  Gabe still does, he believes his daughter has been taken and his search for that strange car and his missing child becomes all consuming for him and totally gripping for me.

Alongside Gabe we follow another couple of character’s.  A waitress in a motorway service station called Kate.  Kate sees Gabe on regular occasions as he spends his life trawling the roads looking for the mystery car.  He’s almost like a ghost, a shadow of his former self.  He inspires pity in others but also discomfort because he’s clearly so desperate and so sad.  Kate doesn’t have the happiest existence.  She’s lonely. She works hard to make ends meet and wonders if she’ll ever have either the time or energy to become involved in another relationship.  Being a single mother of two and working long shifts really doesn’t help in that respect.  Then there’s Fran and her daughter Alice, who seem to live in a perpetual state of fear and are constantly on the run.  Their lives are ruled by the need to stay hidden but from what isn’t immediately clear.  The other character of note is the Samaritan.  This chap certainly has all the menace!  Fortunately, he seems to have fallen into the category of ‘helpful guy’ in terms of wanting to assist Gabe find the car and this is just as well, I don’t think you’d want to fall on the wrong side of the Samaritan.  I actually found this character quite fascinating and could easily read a book that centres around his dark dealings.

Obviously there are more characters involved and the way their stories are gradually revealed is deceptively addictive. In laws, mothers, daughters, sisters, police, and more. There lives are inextricably linked in strange ways, and the beauty of the story is the differing shades of grey that they’re all painted in.  Here are secrets and lies aplenty.  Mistakes that can’t be run away from and wishes that should never have been uttered.  The dark web is named so for a reason and it’s involvement in this story takes us down a creepy ‘big brother’ track that gives you the chills.  Be careful what you wish for people because you never know who is watching.

I don’t really want to say too much more for fear of spoiling a story that is best discovered during the read and not before.  This is well written. The characters and their motivations feel very real and propel the story forward at a great pace.  I couldn’t put the book down and practically read it in two sittings.  The ending pulled all the complicated threads together and I’m left with a feeling of wanting to read this again as well as being ridiculously curious about one of the other characters.

In terms of criticisms. I don’t really have any to be honest.  I would mention that the story involves light magical realism which is very subtly played out and for me added an extra speculative vibe that was curiously creepy.

Overall this was a really good read that I would definitely recommend to lovers of mysteries that involve light fantasy.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publishers, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

Rating 5*

 

 

 

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