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  • Writer's pictureKindig


Updated: Mar 19, 2019




When a mass school shooting rocks Edinburgh to its core the women at its centre struggle to come to terms with the involvement of their loved ones. Will they ever be able to forgive or understand?

It’s interesting that Claire Askew chose to set this story in Edinburgh, rather than in the US where gun laws are more lax and more actual case studies are prevalent. However, setting it in the UK certainly hits the issues closer to home and shows that with the sensationalising of these attacks - they can happen anywhere. It’s also quite sad that although this book is not yet out for publication, it is out of date when it lists large scale shootings in the US!

The story jumps between the perspectives of 3 main characters – Moira, the mother of the perpetrator, Ishbel the mother of one of the victims and DI Birch who is investigating the attack. All 3 characters are heavily relatable and well written; their grief and attempts to understand and forgive the attacker are heart-felt and the story they have to tell is immensely powerful. The story throws up questions of nature vs nurture and explores how much we truly know about those we love and care for.

The story tells us from the outset that we already know all of the key details of the crime – we know what happened and who did it and it admits that we may never understand the actual reason for why the shooter decided to do what he did. This might have diminished the story somewhat as the answers to those questions are usually what drive a reader through a crime thriller, however despite this the plot still had a defined plot progression and still wrapped everything up to a (somewhat) satisfying conclusion. However, my only negative was that I felt was that the book was a little long – it did feel a little repetitive and drawn out in places.

Overall a deeply heart-felt and disturbing book which asks the question how well we know those that we love and how far we go for forgiveness. Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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