Tuesday 14 July 2020

How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister @GillianMAuthor #HowToDisappear @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks #BookReview

Lauren's daughter Zara witnessed a terrible crime. But speaking up comes with a price, and when Zara's identity is revealed online, it puts a target on her back.
The only choice is to disappear.
To keep Zara safe, Lauren will give up everything and everyone she loves, even her husband.
There will be no goodbyes. Their pasts will be rewritten. New names, new home, new lives.
The rules are strict for a reason. They are being hunted. One mistake - a text, an Instagram like - could bring their old lives crashing into the new.
They can never assume someone isn't watching, waiting.
As Lauren will learn, disappearing is easy. Staying hidden is harder . . .

How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister was published in paperback on 9 July 2020 by Michael Joseph /Penguin. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I've been a fan of this author since her very first book. Her crime thrillers are intelligently written, always suspenseful and have that added depth that comes from her legal background.

How To Disappear is no exception. In fact, I'd say that I think it's the best of her books so far. It's a hefty read at over 400 pages, but the reader is drawn in from the very first page, hurtled around as the pace intensifies throughout the story and left with a feeling of satisfaction at the end. This is just what I want from a thriller.

Imagine being told that you have to disappear. You can take two suitcases only. No phone, no laptop, no tablet. Nothing that may identify you. Not only do you have to leave your possessions, but you have to leave your family, your friends, your work. You have to leave your life. There's no going back either, this is not a jaunt, or a holiday, this IS your life, from now on.

Lauren and Zara find themselves in exactly that position. Zara's witness evidence during a murder trial has made her the subject of death threats. If she stays in her life, then it is very possible that she will die. She and her mother Lauren must leave the family home in London and put themselves at the mercy of the People Protection Service. They will have a new home, new identities and a new history. Lauren's husband Aiden is Zara's stepfather, he has a daughter of his own and has to make the heart wrenching decision to stay in London. He cannot abandon daughter Poppy who has issues of her own; caring for a terminally ill mother, along with all of the usual teenage angst.

The reader cannot help but think 'what would I do?' as they read. As Lauren, Zara and Aiden deal with their new situation, in their own ways, we think to ourselves 'why did they do that?', 'what on earth made them think that was a good decision?'. However, it's pretty easy to think those things, as we sit in our comfortable homes, passing judgement. None of us really know what we would do in this situation, and, if by any chance you do know, because you too have been on a Protection Scheme, well, you are not going to admit that .... are you?

The main theme of this story is that of trust and of secrets. All of the characters have their own secrets, and it's clear that none of them feel as though they can trust others. This author packs an emotional punch into her writing too. This is not just a run of the mill thriller, and although the murder case is at the core of the story, it's also a sensitive and well developed look at the ties of family relationships. The parent/sibling relationship is explored so well, in all of its many forms and I was especially impressed by Aiden's daughter Poppy and her feelings of love toward her mother that often battled with a feeling of duty.

How To Disappear delivers it all. Tension, suspense and an intricately woven crime story, accompanied by emotional drama that is totally compelling. I enjoyed this hugely and would highly recommend it.

Gillian McAllister is the Sunday Times Top 10 bestselling author of Everything But The Truth, Anything You Do Say, No Further Questions and The Evidence Against You.

How To Disappear is her latest release, a witness protection thriller.

All of her novels are standalone and can be read in any order. She is published in ten countries around the world. The Good Sister is her US debut, released by Penguin USA, and is the American title for No Further Questions. The Choice is her second American release which is the US title for Anything You Do Say.

You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @gillianmauthor. 

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