Faceless by Vanda Symon

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Faceless by Vanda Symon

Buy Faceless by Vanda Symon at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: A dark, shocking thriller that ramps up in pace and leaves you wanting to read more by this author!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: March 2022
Publisher: Orenda Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781914585043

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In this book told from multiple viewpoints, several troubled people are thrown into the same story thanks to just one mis-step. Set in New Zealand, the first of our characters is Bradley, a middle-aged man struggling with an overbearing boss, a weighty mortgage, and what he feels is an unappreciative wife. Then there's Billy, a homeless teenage girl who is a street artist working as a prostitute sometimes in order to pay for the materials she needs. And then we have Max, who is also living on the streets and who keeps an eye on Billy. He is a shell of a man, barely able to take any care of himself, and yet we can sense that he was once something more than he is now. One night, Bradley finds himself half-crazed with stress and anxiety, driving down the street looking for a prostitute. He picks up Billy, and then with one thoughtless decision finds his life thrown into turmoil and a spiral away from the person he thought he was into someone very different.

I wasn’t sure about this book to begin with. I felt that it started slowly, and it took me a little time to get comfortable with the swapping and changing between viewpoints and feel my way into the plot, but oh my goodness! Once I got there, I found I was completely caught up, and the pace became just right to carry me through to the end. It is a thriller, with aspects of police procedure, and also a character drama too. It's a really dark tale, and I found some of it quite shocking to read. It’s a difficult book to describe because you want to say it’s good but also horrible! Bradley's descent into violence towards Billy is mesmerising to watch, and each time you think he might just redeem himself, it just gets worse. It could be too much for some to read, but I felt it was powerfully written, and the worse Bradley gets, the more you find yourself loving Max and rooting for Billy. The violence towards Billy isn’t sexual, but the sense that it could tip that way never really goes away. There is horror in the depravity of her situation, and the seeming hopelessness of it, and you're never sure if Max is going to find a way out of his own difficulties to be able to help Billy in time.

There’s a lot of ground covered through the book. It looks at anger and depression, family breakdowns, violence, trauma and of course homelessness, for the faceless people of the title are those who are living on the streets. The story shows, very clearly, how easily someone can become lost, and how difficult it is to find someone in authority who cares enough to look for them, or who will even listen. I thought the unravelling of Max’s history was really well done, with moments of who he is teased out slowly. As we learn more about Max, and as another character, Meredith enters the story, we also find more of Billy's life is revealed too. I really liked Meredith's character, and she helps to drive the plot and the pace at the end of the book as slipping between the multiple characters ramps up the suspense.

For all its darkness, this is ultimately a story of hope and friendship. For at the same time as we are watching a man spiral into pure evil, we are also watching another man clawing his way back from being one of the faceless to being a hero, and a young girl in the very worst of conditions finding the strength to hold on and fight back. It's an emotional ride, but one that is very well done.

You might also enjoy reading Missing by Karin Alvtegen

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Buy Faceless by Vanda Symon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Faceless by Vanda Symon at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.

Buy Faceless by Vanda Symon at Amazon You could get a free audio download of Faceless by Vanda Symon with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.

Buy Faceless by Vanda Symon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Faceless by Vanda Symon at Amazon.com.

Faceless by Vanda Symon Check prices, read reviews or buy from Waterstones. Waterstones currently charges from £2.75 for orders under £20, over which delivery is free. You may also click and collect from a Waterstones bookshop at no charge.


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