Someone Else's Son by Sam Hayes

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Someone Else's Son by Sam Hayes

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: A teenager is the subject of a stabbing. He does not survive and his distraught parents are determined to find answers to some very painful questions.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448 Date: October 2010
Publisher: Headline
ISBN: 978-0755349876

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The book opens with Carrie Kent. Successful television presenter and mother of teenager, Max. Ms Kent immediately comes across as hard-headed, business-like, aloof and rather distant but that's the whole point, of course. Very good at her day job. But as a mother? Her television show is a reality programme, dealing with well, basically the dregs of society: single, young mums, drug addicts etc. Carrie knows that these people keep her in designer shoes and bags but she keeps them at arm's length. She wouldn't want to catch something. Carrie sails through her life with a self-satisfied smile on her face. You can just tell.

Bully for her. But her son's life is crap (his word). And we start to get the low-down on Max. He hasn't really handled the break-up of his parents all that well. He shunts between both homes on a regular basis not really knowing - or even caring - where he belongs. And the vast difference between the lives of his mother and father is played out by Hayes time and time again. It's a recurring theme and central to the plot.

The characters alternate between the past and the present. It works well. The reader knows of the up-to-date situation with the various characters, but not why. We delve into the past regularly to see how they tick. And as we are given more and more background information, we can build up a better picture. This drip-feed approach is effective. We want more. We get it when Hayes feels like giving it to us. Good stuff.

Post-Max's death, we see the immaculate and rather brittle Carrie thrust into another world. A world in which she is alien - albeit she deals with it on her regular television programme. The poverty, the poor housing, the vandalism, the bullying ... Carrie flounders all over the place, trying to make sense of it all and trying to find out more about her son's death. Max has not been honest with his parents. He has made some unusual choices. They may have been part of his undoing.

I did find that the character of Carrie was, at times, predictable. Too predictable. She's all glossy hair and expensive clothes, of course. We also get to see other examples of her wealth: the gated mansion, the servants(s) but I did find it a little ridiculous and a step too far when I read about her having her own private helicopter. It seems that the whole country adores her. Apart from her ex-husband and son. And therein lies the sadness.

Max's strange choice of a girlfriend adds another twist to the story. He's surrounded by luxury but all he really craves is some parental attention and burger and chips in front of the telly. I could have wept for him.

Hayes tells a good, fluent story. But too much of it was stereotypical, I'm afraid. The back cover says this book is An emotional thriller that'll keep you on the edge of your seat. While I wouldn't agree with that, what I would say is that I found it overall, a decent enough read.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

You can download a sample chapter of Someone Else's Son in PDF format.

If this book appeals then you might like to try The Death of Lomond Friel by Sue Peebles.

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Buy Someone Else's Son by Sam Hayes at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Someone Else's Son by Sam Hayes at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Someone Else's Son by Sam Hayes at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Someone Else's Son by Sam Hayes at


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