The Moon Pool by Sophie Littlefield
|The Moon Pool by Sophie Littlefield|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: Two young men are missing after going to work on the North Dakota oil rigs but neither their employers nor the local law enforcement agencies are showing any interest. That's when their mothers decide to step in. A corporate conspiracy mystery saved by the relationship between the two mothers united by a search.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: October 2014|
|Publisher: Head of Zeus|
|External links: Author's website|
Comfortably off Colleen Mitchell is loath to let her 20 year old son go to North Dakota to work on the oil rigs but he's made up his mind. Unfortunately her worst nightmares begin to materialise when he vanishes soon after starting work. So, leaving her lawyer husband at home, she follows her maternal instinct to where he was last seen. His big corporate employers and the local police don’t seem that concerned. However, in her suffering there is another person who knows exactly how Colleen feels: Shay, the mother of another lad who went missing at the same time. Hoping it's not too late they join forces and start their own investigation.
Although this is her first UK book release, American author Sophie Littlefield has published a dozen novels in the US since her debut back in 2008. In doing so, she's won the Anthony Award and has been shortlisted for other prizes. Will The Moon Pool win any awards? Possibly not, but that doesn't mean it's without merit. The kernel of this author's cleverness may not be in the obvious place, but it's there just the same. Although, hold that thought - before I start to rave about the good stuff, let's get the negative vibes out of the way.
The main problem with this novel for me is that as a big-business-conspiracy thriller it's a bit of a cliché. The story ticks all the topical boxes in a formulaic way: exploiting the workforce, big business covering up various violations, executives chasing money without any shred of humanity etc etc. We can predict where and how the mothers will be thwarted and (in some cases) even foresee that certain people will come out with certain revelations. Having said that, there's a wonderfully heart stopping moment concerning a truck driver that I won't spoil. This moment proves that Sophie can pull off thrills but for some reason the novel as a whole is a bit short of them. BUT…
Where The Moon Pool does bring a smile of readerly satisfaction is when it's taken as a buddy piece. The relationship between Colleen and Shay is so well drawn and fascinating, that alone makes it worth the purchase price. These ladies are chalk and camembert.
Shay has had life thrown at her, sharp side up. She's 'trailer trash' who has fought desperately to raise her children and will now fight desperately for her son. She wouldn't seek the company of Colleen normally, but fate has thrown them together without the any option. I definitely respected Shay and spent the book wanting to hug her. Colleen, on the other hand, I spent the book wanting to throttle. She doesn't just live through her son; she wants to be grafted on to him as an extension.
Colleen has money, nice house, rich husband and wants to believe she has the sort of son who will remain close and tell her anything. She soon realises that he's never had any intention of doing either of those things as gradually uncovers a secret life. Shay may have nothing materially but she's known a son's love.
The drama and poignancy Sophie has built into how these two women rub along together easily outshines the rest of the tale. Indeed, this is an author who invests much into her characters and I found myself wanting to read more of her work for that very reason. As a mystery/anti-corporation rant it may be deemed forgettable. However Shay and Colleen will stay in our memory for a long, long time and with very good reason.
(Thank you, Head of Zeus for providing us with a copy for review.)
Further Reading: If you enjoy a good conspiracy theory/thriller we recommend Even by Andrew Grant.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Moon Pool by Sophie Littlefield at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Moon Pool by Sophie Littlefield at Amazon.com.
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