THRILLER// Sticks and Stones- Jo Jakeman*

 

Sticks and Stones (May- review in July)

It all sounds like the start of a Richard Curtis rom-com: Imogen’s attending her husband’s funeral. His mistress, Naomi, and his first wife Ruby are there also. But this is no comedy in which we see Hugh Grant make lots of daft mistakes and comes good in the end- Phillip’s life was messy, it seems. But at the heart of it all is a sinister series of events that links the three women together in a bid to escape Phillip’s spiderweb of lies. Despite Imogen doing her best to start again and leave her ex in the past, he has other ideas. A split second decision leads her into a situation in which she has to knit together her husband’s separate lives in order to survive and understand just how she’s got to a dangerous point in her life as Phillip’s violent bullying, hidden by years as a police officer, and charm finally comes to a head. But just how far will he go in order to maintain control?

This is a novel about survival and how the choices we make in the heat in the moment can lead to whole worlds unravelling, as well as finding strength in unlikely places.  Jo Jakeman has also explored what happens when we have to work with those we perceive as our enemies, as well as happens if one of the people you trust turns out to be a weak link. I found myself questioning just what lengths I’d go to in order to ensure mine and my child’s survival and safety and just who I would turn to in an hour of need.

I read a lot of dark, twisty novels and this is one of my favourites so far this year. It’s a thriller that took me on a rollercoaster; stylish, relatable and with a dash of sharp wit-  every time I thought I knew what was happening, I’d be wrenched into a completely different direction. It kept me gripped to the very end.

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