Wednesday 10 January 2024

Hot Springs Drive by Lindsay Hunter #HotSpringsDrive #LindsayHunter @dialoguepub @millieseaward #BookReview


Today, she walks in on her husband and best friend having an affair. Tomorrow, her body is found.

Seven years ago, Theresa and Jackie meet in a maternity ward. Sleep-deprived new mothers; instant friends.

Then they become neighbours on Hot Springs Drive - a nice street in a nice neighbourhood, filled with flower boxes and emerald lawns.

The story ends like this: in the depths of a sweltering heatwave, Theresa discovers that her husband and Jackie are having an affair. The next day, Theresa's body is found.

The truth lies somewhere between the picket fences and pink blossoms, where friendships twist into tragic jealousies and barbecues hide bed hopping and bloodshed. By summer's end, the residents of Hot Springs Drive will never be the same...

An unputdownable, unmissable, vicious blade of a novel that peels back the fragile veneer of two suburban families and the deadly secrets roiling between them.

Hot Springs Drive by Lindsay Hunter is published by Renegade Books on 11 January 2024. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

There is something quite voyeuristic about this novel. The reader is exposed to the inner most thoughts and feelings of two families on one street. The street itself is a nice place to live, its well kept and filled with ordinary everyday folk.  However, it is those ordinary people that hide the biggest secrets and these two house on Hot Springs Drive are bursting with secrets.

Theresa and Jackie are the two mothers in the story. They met and bonded over their newborns in the maternity hospital, became instant friends and are now neighbours. Theresa's life seems a little easier than Jackie's, with just one daughter, whilst Jackie has four sons to care for. 

It is a visit to a weight-loss class that triggers the tragedy that is to befall them. Jackie has become very overweight, but as the pounds fall off, she discovers that she is being noticed for her looks, rather than her size. Her decision to flaunt those looks, and to engage in a hot affair with her best friend's husband will have long lasting effects on both families, forever. 

The reader can feel the heat coming from these pages, not just from the steamy sex sessions experienced by Jackie, but from the incredible sense of place that the author delivers. Those hot, overbearing summer days, filled with tension and betrayal are so finely detailed.

Whilst this book can certainly be called a thriller, it is also a devastating look at relationships and especially motherhood. Jackie's sons need attention and as she begins to focus more on her own needs, those four boys mature into individual, but very flawed characters. There's also the complicated relationship between the children from each household, how they interact, how they react and how their early sexual encounters reflect on them for years to come. 

Told from varying perspectives, the reader is aware of everything that is happening and it is often uncomfortable, with a sense of dread that gets deeper and deeper with each turn of the page. 

A compelling page turner that delivers a real smack to the stomach. Highly recommended. 

Lindsay Hunter is the author of two story collections and two novels. 

Her second collection, Don't Kiss Me, was named one of Amazon's 10 Best Books of the Year: Short Stories. 

Her latest novel, Eat Only When You're Hungry, was a finalist for the 2017 Chicago Review of Books Fiction Award and a 2017 NPR Great Read. Along with the writer Alex Higley, she co-hosts the podcast I'm a Writer But, a series that focuses on how writers with jobs and/or families get the work done. 

She lives in Chicago with her husband, three children, and elderly pitbull mutt.

Instagram @lindsaydevon

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