Ellen Saint and Vic Gordon have a son named Lucas. They separated when he was quite young and now Ellen is married to Justin Saint and they have a daughter together named Freya. They live in South London.
When Lucas starts sixth form, he is led ‘astray’ by another pupil, Kieran Watts. Kieran presents as evil. His personality comes across as menacing, and he speaks in roadman, a type of gangster jargon. Kieran and Lucas like to party and do drugs. The fear of every parent. Ellen hates her beloved son’s friend with a passion.
When Lucas is only nineteen, the worst happens, Ellen is determined to have her revenge and she resorts to extreme measures to do so…
Though I found I did not enjoy this novel near as much as the author’s previous “Our House“, it was still quite an enjoyable read.
I truly relished the actual story (“The Heights“), but didn’t care for how it was within another story (“Saint or Sinner?”). When the narrator strayed from “The Heights” to address the reader directly I felt like I had been rudely awakened from a good dream with a cold bucket of water to the face. I’ve never been a fan of when the reader/watcher is directly addressed – whether it be in a novel or on screen.
“Do I have your sympathy at all, dear reader? It’s so hard to judge. How proper writers do it, I really don’t know.”
I struggled to care for the protagonist, Ellen Saint, even though she should have been a sympathetic character due to the loss of her son. She seemed cold, eccentric, and appeared calculating in her approach for retribution.
The setting was expertly described, and the characters well rendered.
The feeling of menace and injustice was well portrayed. This was a revenge tale that showed the consequences of obsessively harbouring grudges.
Candlish is renown for her plot twists and with this one she ran true to form.
Though this wasn’t my favourite of Louise Candlish’s novels, it in no way deterred me from reading more of her work. I look forward to her next thriller.
Publication date: March 1, 2022 Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Louise Candlish was born in Hexham, Northumberland, and grew up in the Midlands town of Northampton. She studied English at University College London and lives in Herne Hill in South London with her husband and daughter. She is the author of twelve novels.
Besides books, the things Louise likes best are: coffee; TV; cats and dogs; salted caramel; France (especially the Ile de Re); Italy (especially Sicily); tennis; soup; Vanity Fair magazine; ‘Book at Bedtime’; lasagne; heavy metal; ‘The Archers’; driving towards the sea (but not into it); anything at the Royal Opera House; white wine; Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (or, failing that, a Starbar).
Follow Louise Candlish on Twitter.