‘Sometimes it’s better not to know’
What Alice Knew is unbelievably a debut novel by T.A Cotterell.
Published by Black Swan, a Transworld/Penguin Random House imprint, What Alice Knew is available in ebook format from Dec 1st 2016 and will be available in paperback next Spring (20th April 2017).
I was so so lucky to receive an advance copy from the publisher and boy did I eat up this book..
Read on for my full thoughts and YES I DO recommend….
‘Alice has a perfect life
A cool job, great kids, a wonderful husband. Until he goes missing one night; The phone rings and then goes dead. Things don’t quite add up.
Alice needs to know what’s going on.
But when she uncovers the truth she faces a brutal choice.
And how can she be sure it is the truth?’
Alice Sheahan is a successful portrait artist. Her husband Ed is a successful obstetrician. They have two children, Nell and Arthur. They live a very busy lifestyle, with both away from home when work requires it.
Everything changes when Alice receives a call while returning home very late one night. It is her daughter Nell. Ed has not returned home as previously agreed. Alice, concerned for her husband’s safety, panics and fears for the worst. The following day Ed surfaces. He is safe. Alice is happy…..for now!!
What unravels is a story that would put you on the edge of your seat.
I have watched House of Cards on Netflix and as I was reading this book, the behaviour of Alice and Ed initially reminded me of Francis and Claire Underwood. Their reactions, the way they speak to each other is quite Machiavellian ‘The End Justifies The Means’
Alice is exposed to the facts about where Ed was and what subsequently transpired. She takes it all on board rather methodically and makes a decision that, to the reader, seems insane.
The descriptions of art in this book are very strong. The imagery utilised by T. A. Cotterell are a reminder of his own background in art. His own personal knowledge lends to the realism of the story. I could smell the paint, I could visualise the ‘paint-spattered table’. Alice is an artist. She sees things in colour. Ed, on the other hand is very fact driven and sees everything in black & white.
Two very different personalities, yet they unite when trouble brews.
‘Ed stood in my studio…He was in his suit, erect and professional, silhouetted against the open window. He was wearing an ochre-lined sharply tailored narrow-lapelled herringbone suit and a cerulean shirt, open at the neck. He moved smoothly, the regular tennis player, retriever of lost causes….Ed’s capacity to compartmentalize was awe-inspiring’
Alice’s description of Ed is almost like she is describing a predator and not her own husband. As the book progresses he leaves Alice doubting her role as a good wife, as a good mother. He twists and turns his words to his own liking confident in his superior ability to influence Alice’s decision-making ability.
‘A portrait is a quest for truth. It spares no one.’
A great opening line.
Alice, as an artist, believes this to be true. As the novel progresses the ugly truth pushes itself to the fore through various means, eager to be revealed.
When I finished What Alice Knew I felt bereft.
What had happened? Did the situation really play out in that fashion?
What Alice Knew will appeal to fans of different genres. It is most definitely psychological but not a fast paced thriller. It is a book centred around a crime but yet the crime itself seems almost secondary.
As I was reading What Alice Knew I was reminded of Liz Nugent’s Lying in Wait. The characters are very strongly and vividly described. As a reader you will be exposed to the manipulation of a person in the most heinous manner.
What did Alice know??
Well now that’s down to you the reader to find out… please let me know what you think!
Purchase Link : What Alice Knew
Meet the Author:
T.A. Cotterell read History of Art at Cambridge University. He worked in the City before resigning to become a freelance writer.
He is now a writer and editor at the research house Redburn.
He is married wit three children and lives in Bristol.
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