Clare Hardenberg, an investigative journalist, is tasked to write a book about convicted mass murderer, Julia White, who planted a bomb in a chain coffee shop in busy central London causing the death of twenty-four people. However, Clare herself is on remand and facing prison for many years as she writes to her editor and friend, George, chronicling her interviews with Julia’s family, friends and a brief chilling interview with Julia herself.
Told totally from Clare’s perspective, this book poses the mysteries, why did Julia White do what she did and what did Clare Hardenberg do to end up in prison? Are the two incidents related?
In a true psychological thriller sense it’s what isn’t spelled out by the narrative that adds to the chill factor in this novel. Clare’s investigation into Julia doesn’t paint a stark clear cut picture and challenges our perceptions of Julia and whether she is inherently evil or a sociopath.
Clare herself has had a tumultuous time in her career prior to the point she takes on the assignment to write about Julia and although she is our narrator, it’s obvious that Clare is reeling from traumatic events in her own life that colour her opinions.
This isn’t the type of psychological thriller that overlaps crime thrillers to keep you entertained, it’s the sort of literary fiction that comments on society and culture challenging your understanding of the world and the way it works. I found this book incredibly difficult to put down even though more questions arose as we found out more about Julia and Clare, leaving me chilled to the bone of my impressions of both women at the end of this thought-provoking read.
This book is available for pre-order and will be published on 1st April 2016.