The Second Life of Amy Archer by R S Pateman
|The Second Life of Amy Archer by R S Pateman|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: A family struggle to cope with the disappearance of their 10 year old daughter a decade ago, until a new arrival stirs things up in this gripping thriller that was impossible to put down.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 432||Date: July 2013|
Ten years ago, a little girl vanished from a playground near her London home. Her body was never found. A decade on, and her parents are different people, her mother Beth still hung up on what did, or didn’t happen that day, her father Brian trying to move on with his new family, his new daughters. On the anniversary of her disappearance, a strange visitor arrives on Beth’s doorstep saying she knows what happened to Amy Archer. She also knows a great deal about Beth’s life, and Amy’s, from that time. Things no one should know. No one could know. But the only explanation is beyond belief. Either someone is playing a cruel joke on Beth, or it’s time to start believing in miracles.
This is a harrowing thriller that keeps the reader, and the characters, guessing from start to finish. Beth narrates throughout which keeps the story quite one sided and wonderfully frustrating as we hear her opinion and her conclusions on what is happening, but can’t find out what others are thinking. The crucial thing is that no one, even Libby, can ever get inside Esme’s head, so the only person who can possibly know the truth is the girl herself.
I really enjoyed this book and didn’t want to put it down because it was written in such a way that you always felt like something important was coming next – as often it was. At the same time, sometimes I was wrong. I had great suspicions about Jill’s behaviour because I thought she was acting oddly when Beth went to Manchester and expected her character to turn out differently.
I had only a few minor niggles with the book as I was reading. I didn’t really see the point of the obscure name of Henry Campbell Black, because while a name was needed, something more in keeping with the character would have done. There was an issue with Facebook that wouldn’t have happened, to do with the way family is displayed, but I appreciated the accuracy in bus numbers in Manchester, the sort of detail that’s often overlooked. I thought the taped revelation was a bit easy – and I didn’t quite work out why it would have been done – but it certainly helped move on a story that was already long.
In this book you don’t know what to think. Esme’s claim is quite impossible to believe, but also impossible to doubt. Sceptic that I am, I was hoping for a logical explanation for it all, and I think the ambiguous ending works well as it allows you to think what you want. There’s a bit of a curve ball related to Beth’s childhood towards the end that seemed a tad superfluous, but there was enough good stuff going on for me to look past this.
All in all, a gripping story that is something I’ve not read before. The gap of 10 years between the incident and this follow up is certainly a new and intriguing take on suspected child abduction, and shows the aftermath it can have on families, and the lengths they’ll go to to get answers and closure.
Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.
This immediately reminded me of another favourite thriller release from 2013, Under Your Skin by Sabine Durrant
You can read more book reviews or buy The Second Life of Amy Archer by R S Pateman at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Second Life of Amy Archer by R S Pateman at Amazon.com.
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