We meet Emily/Cat on the London to Manchester train. In Manchester she is Emily, qualified lawyer, happily married to Ben, mother of a small son and living the good life. Emily's only dark spot in her life is her twin sister Caroline, they have never really got along together and are different as chalk and cheese.
It is clear that this is not an easy journey for Emily, she is not heading out for a spot of shopping, or to see the sights or meet a friend. She is leaving everything behind. When she gets to London, she becomes Catherine or Cat. Emily is running away, nobody knows that she has left or where she is going, in fact Emily herself has no clue where she will live or how she will get by. All that she does know is that she has to get away.
When Cat takes a room in a run-down, filthy shared house she finds a friend in Angel. It is Angel that saves her, who looks after her and never questions her. Angel has her own skeletons in the cupboard too and senses that there is more to Cat than she is revealing.
Although it may sound like a cliche; One Step Too Far really is difficult to put down. Tina Seskis is an extremely clever author, she has produced a story that is so intricate and tightly plotted that the reader really has no choice to keep reading ..... just another chapter, and another, and another.
Although Emily/Cat is the lead character, she gives little away and the reader never knows the reasons why she has chosen to run away. We know that she is desperately unhappy, but apart from problems with her twin Caroline, it is hard to understand why she has made this decision. The clever structure of the novel allows us to learn a little bit more, piece by piece as the author begins to introduce the other characters and their own version of events. Starting from the birth of the twins Emily and Caroline, from the point of view of their parents, right up to the day that Emily left Manchester. This really is an incredibly clever way of telling the story and entices the reader on every page.
We learn just how distressing Caroline's actions have been for the whole family, how each of them have been shaped by her addictions, her behaviours and her wicked tongue. Angel too tells her story in short, sharp bursts, revealing just why she has chosen the life that she has.
Since finishing the book, I've read some existing reviews of One Step Too Far and have noted that some other readers really didn't like the character of Emily/Cat. I do like her, I don't like some of the decisions that she made, but once her back story is revealed these decisions don't seem quite so random. There is a vulnerability to her that she tries her best to overcome.
Not once did I guess how this excellent story would turn out, there were times when I thought that I'd got it all sussed, but Tina Seskis throws another spanner in the works many times, causing the story to take twists that I could never have imagined. It is these twists and turns that make the book so engaging, and made me keep reading and reading until finally every layer fitted together and at last the real story emerged.
I'd like to say a huge thank you to Tina Seskis and Kirk Parolles for sending an advance copy for review. Too Step Too Far is published in the UK by Kirk Parolles on 15 April 2013.
Tina never intended writing a novel. She wrote One Step Too Far over a two month period in summer 2010 and then gave up writing entirely for well over a year, before writing her second novel A Serpentine Affair in autumn 2011. Her third book (working title Collision) is due for completion in 2013, and is the coming together of a key character from each of the first two novels, if Tina can make the plot work.
Tina lives in North London with her husband and son.
For more information about Tina and her writing, visit her website at www.tinaseskis.com.
She has a Facebook page here and her Twitter account is here