Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all doing well. Today I’m going to be posting my review of C.L. Taylor’s fantastic novel, ‘THE ACCIDENT’. I continue to be impressed by her books, and I’ll continue to support this author for a long time. So, here’s my review…
KEEPING THIS SECRET WAS KILLING HER…
A gripping psychological thriller about the deadly secrets your children can keep …
Sue Jackson has the perfect family but when her teenage daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma she is forced to face a very dark reality.
Retracing her daughter’s steps she finds a horrifying entry in Charlotte’s diary and is forced to head deep into Charlotte’s private world. In her hunt for evidence, Sue begins to mistrust everyone close to her daughter and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past.
Sue will do anything to protect her daughter. But what if she is the reason that Charlotte is in danger?
‘THE ACCIDENT’ was published in 2014, and is C.L. Taylor’s first novel. Since then, Taylor also released ‘THE LIE’ in 2015 (which I reviewed here) and ‘THE MISSING’ in 2016, and her next novel is due to be released on 6th April 2017. Taylor writes full time and lives with her family in Bristol.
‘THE ACCIDENT’ was one of the top ten bestselling debuts of 2014 according to The Bookseller magazine. The Daily Mail described it as ‘An enjoyable rollercoaster of a suspense novel with multiple twists, and The Sun said ‘This dark and creepy book is a must read.’ Many fellow authors also loved the novel, such as Rowan Coleman: ‘I could not put this gripping, heart-stopping page-turner down’, Paula Daly: ‘This fast, twisty psychological thriller has suspense on every page!’, and Julie Cohen: ‘Gripping and terrifying’.
After reading and loving ‘THE LIE’ so much, it’s fair to say that I had very high expectations going in to ‘THE ACCIDENT’. And I definitely was not disappointed. In fact, I think I loved ‘THE ACCIDENT’ even more! It’s one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read in quite a while, and C.L. Taylor is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors writing in the genre. This novel was absolutely astounding, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of reading it.
The narrative is written in Sue Jackson’s perspective, and essentially follows her as she tries to solve the mystery that surrounds her daughter, Charlotte’s, accident. Charlotte stepped in front of a bus and is now in a coma, and Sue is desperate to know what led her to the point of attempting suicide. Sue reads her daughter’s diary one day and finds a shocking entry, and from then on she acts as detective, investing all the aspects of Charlotte’s life that she possibly can.
The story switches back and forth in time – we read diary entries of Sue’s from twenty years previously, and the narrative taking place in the present day. At first, I didn’t actually realise who the diary entries belonged to, but as the narrative goes on, I suddenly made the connection that this was Sue in a previous relationship. Sue previously was a part of an increasingly abusive relationship, and the reader is given all the grizzly details about that relationship. Like many abusive relationships, everything seems fine at first, but her partner’s abuse gets gradually worse. Taylor is able to portray this particular relationship very realistically, and I think she has a clear skill in her writing here. Some of the scenes were pretty uncomfortable and shocking to read, but they were just on the brink of being readable (for me, personally). I felt that Taylor included just the right amount of details for me to feel comfortable enough to continue reading.
As a character, I really empathised with Sue. I was totally sucked into her story, and I really rooted for her. I wanted her to be happy and for Charlotte to be okay, after all that she had been through in the past. I often found myself questioning what I’d personally do if I was in her position – something that I believe the best psychological thrillers provoke the reader to do! Her maternal instincts are so strong and she will do anything and everything to protect her daughter, and that was really heart-warming to read. She puts her daughter before herself constantly, and she really goes to some great lengths to find out the truth.
Brian, Sue’s husband, is a very interesting and frustrating character. He too deeply cares for his family and is devastated by Charlotte’s accident. However, as Sue begins to uncover more truths about Charlotte’s accident and approaches Brian, he essentially thinks she is crazy and refuses to believe her. I just wanted to take him by the shoulders and shake him! I really wanted him to have more faith in his wife and stop being so naïve – but I assume that this is exactly the effect that Taylor wished to portray.
We also meet some of Charlotte’s friends/acquaintances/her ex-boyfriend throughout the novel – Ella, Keisha, Danny and Liam. All these minor characters were equally interesting and all brought a new dimension to the novel. At first, these characters are reluctant to talk and don’t really help Sue much in discovering what happened to Charlotte, and Sue is constantly forming new questions. But eventually, they help Sue find out what she needs to know, and all the pieces of the puzzle slowly begin to fit together.
At times, this novel was so intense and so claustrophobic I could only just bear it! I really became involved in Sue’s quest to find out the truth, and I was absolutely dying to know what happened to Charlotte. I was absolutely hooked in the story, and I physically couldn’t put it down. This novel has everything I love in a psychological thriller – brilliant characters, increasing tension, shocking twists, thought-provoking situations and an exceptional ending.
So let’s talk about that ending! Right before the final dramatic scene, Sue discovers something new and the story takes a very unexpected twist, and all the pieces of the jigsaw finally fit together. At that moment, I realised exactly what was going to happen, and my heart started pounding. The final scene was absolutely astounding – the best finale I’ve read to a thriller in a really long time. It was intense, shocking and extremely clever. Taylor’s writing in the finale is just exceptional, as the story reaches a very explosive climax. I couldn’t even look away – I was totally absorbed. It was just brilliant! I’m definitely not going to tell you what happens – you’ll have to read it for yourself.
I enjoyed ‘THE ACCIDENT’ so much – it’s going straight on my “favourites” shelf, right next to ‘THE LIE’. I loved everything about this novel and felt that all the characters were brilliant, and Taylor’s writing was once again exceptional. I’d highly recommend this novel to anybody who likes psychological thrillers – I can guarantee you’ll absolutely love this! I can’t stop thinking about this novel, and I will never ever forget it. I’ll definitely be checking out ‘THE MISSING’ as soon as possible, and reading any future books by C.L. Taylor too!
Happy reading 🙂