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*

 

 

 

Weekly Wrap Up : 19th January 2020

Hey everyone. Hope you’ve all had a lovely week.  I seem to have been very busy and yet I don’t think I could say exactly how or why.  In none bookish news I’m trying to be good and healthy, do more exercise and drink more water so we’ll see how this goes. I’ve actually made a plan for a full month – can I stick to it?  Well, I think so, we’ll see.  In bookish news I’ve read three books and also caught up with a couple of reviews. I went a little off plan but not much. In SPFBO news I read my first book, and loved it, obviously I’m a little behind but I’m not worried, I’m hoping to fit at least one more book in this month if not two.

Here’s my week in books:

  1. The Other People by CJ Tudor – which was excellent and my review will be posted tomorrow
  2. The Woods by Vanessa Savage
  3. Blood of Heirs (The Coraidic Sagas #1) by Alicia Wanstall-Burke – my first SPFBO book and an excellent 9* read.

What I’m reading next week:

  1. Crownbreaker by Sebastien deCastell
  2. The Bard’s Blade by Brian D. Anderson
  3. Highfire by Eoin Colfer

Upcoming Reviews

  1. King of the Road by RS Belcher
  2. Queenlayer by Sebastien DeCastell
  3. The Absinthe Earl by Sharon Lynn Fisher
  4. Deeplight by Frances Hardinge
  5. King of Assassins by RJ Barker
  6. The Other People by CJ Tudor
  7. The Woods by Vanessa Savage

I’d love to know what you’re reading this week.

Weekly Wrap Up : 12th January 2020

A little later than planned here is my weekly wrap up.   This is in fact my first weekly wrap up of 2020, I’m still catching up following my two week Christmas break.  So, this week I’ve read two books.

Here’s my week in books:

  1. The God Game by Danny Tobey – I loved this and my review can be found here.
  2. The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy #2) by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

What I’m reading next week:

  1. The Other People by CJ Tudor
  2. The Woods by Vanessa Savage
  3. Crownbreaker by Sebastien deCastell

Upcoming Reviews

  1. King of the Road by RS Belcher
  2. Queenlayer by Sebastien DeCastell
  3. The Absinthe Earl by Sharon Lynn Fisher
  4. Deeplight by Frances Hardinge
  5. King of Assassins by RJ Barker
  6. Where Gods Fear to go by Angus Watson
  7. The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy #2) by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

I’d love to know what you’re reading this week.