Claire Askew - All the Hidden Truths
"...a very original and entertaining novel from this debut author. "
Horribly apposite, this deals with the aftermath of a college shooting, not in gun toting America, but in leafy genteel Edinburgh. Fourteen people die in a College of Further Education, victims of one of the students who entered the building with murder on his mind. This book investigates the effects on all concerned but in detail on the mother of the first victim, the mother of the murderer and Inspector Helen Birch who is responsible for investigating the crime.
There is never any doubt as to who has committed the crime, but the why and wherefore is unclear. And how did this young man get hold of the weaponry to commit the atrocity? Details of the conflicting motives and secrets emerge slowly through the book until by the end we understand the protagonists a little more.
This is a complex study of relationships within families and between young people on the verge of adulthood. The root of the crime lies within these parameters. Claire Askew produces finely honed portraits of the main characters and shows a deep and sympathetic understanding of human nature.
It is perhaps revealing that the murderer is not an evil person but a young man struggling with loss and insecurity. It is prescient of recent events in Florida.
This is a very original and entertaining novel from this debut author. If this is the sort of book she can produce on her first outing, then I predict many great novels from Askew.
Reviewed by: S.D.