Karen Finch's seventeen-year-old daughter Sophie arrives home after a night out, drunk and accompanied by police officers.
Twelve hours later, Sophie's friend Amy has still not returned home. Then the body of a young woman is found.
As Karen becomes convinced that Sophie is not only involved but also in danger, she must confront her own anxieties to stop whoever killed one young girl moving on to another - Sophie.
Welcome to the first stop on the Blog Tour for Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington, published today (12 August 2016), in paperback by Avon. Saving Sophie is Sam Carrington's debut novel.
Saving Sophie is a psychological thriller that opens with a prologue that is short but shocking, and sets the tone for the rest of the novel.
Whilst the murder of a young girl, and the hunt to find her killer is the central crime in his story, the overriding theme of the book is that of family relationships and how hidden truths can have a huge
impact on even the strongest of family units.
When seventeen-year-old Sophie is returned home, incoherently drunk, by a couple of police officers, her parents are horrified and angry. However, it soon becomes clear that their anger is directed at each other, rather than at Sophie. Karen and her husband Mike have a tense relationship, they distance themselves from each other. Karen has agoraphobia, brought on after she was the victim of a horrific attack, and whilst Mike does his best to understand and support her, it is clear that he struggles to comprehend how his previously successful wife can now spend every single day within the confines of four walls of their home, especially as his job takes him out on the wild open moors every day.
Meanwhile, a young girl is dead, and whilst Sophie initially remembers nothing about the night that it happened, she soon receives a horrific reminder. Somebody out there is watching her and her friends are all being very tight-lipped about what actually happened that night. Karen is convinced that Sophie and her friends know far more than they are admitting to and decides to do some investigating of her own ... what she finds out horrifies her.
Told in three voices; those of Sophie, Karen and DI Lindsay Wade; the police officer in charge of the investigation, Saving Sophie is a complex and cleverly imagined story that leads the reader through many twists and turns, unearthing more shocks along the way.
This author has created characters who are convincing and realistic. There are times that I wanted to shout; NO, STOP - WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT!!, as Sophie and Karen made decisions that made no sense to me. This is a clever tactic by this debut author, making the turning of pages become more frantic in order to try to understand why and how, and what would happen next.
It is clear that Sam Carrington has drawn on her previous experience of working within the Prison Service when creating her characters. People who are damaged often do damaging things, not just to others, but to themselves as well and Sophie, Karen and their supporting cast certainly cause damage by their actions .... and often by their inaction too.
The tension and suspense increases in the final third of the book, culminating in an ending that is gasp-inducing and totally unexpected.
Absolutely razor-sharp writing with characters who are complex and a plot that grips from the outset and shocks at the end. A fine debut from an author to watch.
My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and invited me to take part in the blog tour.
Sam Carrington lives in Devon with her husband and three children. She worked for the NHS for fifteen years, during which time she qualified as a nurse. Following the completion of a psychology degree she went to work for the prison service as an Offending Behaviour Programme Facilitator. Her experiences within this field inspired her writing. She left the service to spend time with her family and to follow her dream of being a novelist.
Saving Sophie is her debut psychological thriller novel.
Readers can find out more at www.samcarrington.blogspot.co.uk
Follow her on Twitter @sam_carrington1