Saturday, 21 February 2015

'How I Lost You' by Jenny Blackhurst

I received a copy of this title from for review purposes...

Susan Webster is trying to move on with her life, under a new alias, and with very different meaning.  Found guilty of killing her infant son, she has done her time but has no recollection of that terrible night.  Divorced from her son's father, she has just one close friend to turn to when all she believes comes under a wave of doubt.  A hand delivered envelope appears, with a photo of a young boy.  Her son's name is written on the back, and if he was alive, he would be the age of the child in the picture.  Is Dylan alive somewhere?  How could he be?  Who would send her such a cruel photo?  When other strange things start happening, Susan knows she must investigate further, but watch her own back...

This debut from Jenny Blackhurst has all the ingredients for a great psychological thriller.  A murder, a victim, a trial and all the darker moments related to losing a child.  Then, the uncertainty of what really happened.  Is there more to the story?  Flashbacks are used,  chapters are a good length and the pace picks up to a mighty crescendo for the ending.  The overall package is great but I had a few  issues with the novel.   The pace is very slow to start with.  I actually abandoned the book a few times as I was losing interest.   The story is very similar to other novels of this genre (The Boy Who Never Was by Karen Perry, for example) and therefor I could see where it was headed.  However, the pace picked up, new characters were introduced and it found its way to become a real page turner.  I found myself rolling my eyes when Susan practically falls in love with a man she met twelve hours previously, and knows nothing about, and their interactions began to irritate me.  Her one close friend, Cassie, could have been a much stronger character.  She was just beginning to come to life, when the author pushes her aside in favour of the love interest/hero.  She makes brief appearances towards the end, but more like an afterthought.  A real pity as she was gutsy and gave some balance to Susan's weak and naive nature.  In saying this, the red herrings and twists and turns are good.  A few times I thought I had the plot line sorted, but I was wrong.  The rushed ending was a surprise and the flashbacks come into context.  I just hope that the slow pace at the start, and bizarre love interest don't put readers off.  A confident debut, with a few tweaking issues, but I really look forward to seeing more from this author...

Ideal for fans of Sophie Hannah 

How I Lost You is published by Headline on 23rd April 2015 in paperback and ebook format


  1. I've tried to NOT read your review as I'm expecting a copy myself. Sometimes it's impossible, but I prefer to go into a book without hearing other opinions. I'll be back after I've read it :)


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