Fast-paced and suspenseful The Accident is perfect for fans of Before I Go to Sleep, Gone Girl and Sophie Hannah.
A gripping psychological thriller about the deadly secrets your children can keep …
Sue Jackson has the perfect family but when her teenage daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma she is forced to face a very dark reality.
Retracing her daughter’s steps she finds a horrifying entry in Charlotte’s diary and is forced to head deep into Charlotte’s private world. In her hunt for evidence, Sue begins to mistrust everyone close to her daughter and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past.
Sue will do anything to protect her daughter. But what if she is the reason that Charlotte is in danger?
The Accident by C L Taylor is published on 10 April by Avon Books.
Before I even start to talk about the book, I have to tell you about the fabulously creative marketing by the team from LightBrigade PR. It was just amazing, and I was incredibly spooked by it. The lead character in the story receives various items in the post and this is what the marketing was all about. Of course, I had no idea what was going on!
On the first day, I received a plain black envelope that contained a page from a diary (April 10th - publication day), the words 'keeping this secret is killing me' was written on it.
On the next day, another black envelope arrived - all that was inside was a picture of a baby scan, with 'Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth' Deuteronomy written on the back.
Now I was confused! A baby? Who do I know that is going to have a baby, and so soon? And what was with the life for a life stuff? This was just weird.
Day three arrived, and by this time even my husband was getting quite excited. No black envelope ...... a black parcel instead, and inside that a black box tied with a ribbon, and inside that .... a proof copy of The Accident.
Amazing, and impressive ...... and certainly made me look forward to reading this one. I finished it early yesterday, what did I think?
Here goes ....
Fifteen year old Charlotte is lying in a hospital bed in a coma. She stepped out in front of a bus. Her mother Sue is convinced that this was not an accident. She doesn't believe that Charlotte was distracted by her phone, or her iPod, or someone across the street. Sue thinks that Charlotte tried to take her own life. She has a reason to think that because she read her daughter's diary, she read the entry that says "keeping this secret is killing me".
Sue is determined to find out the truth, to find out what this secret is. She's suspicious of everyone - of her husband, of Charlotte's boyfriend, her best friend, her teachers, she knows that someone knows something but nobody is talking.
Sue is a troubled, nervous woman. Wife of a Member of Parliament, mother to the beautiful Charlotte, but she appears almost neurotic at times, she's paranoid and suspicious. Her husband and step-son obviously worry about her too, they lived through Sue's breakdown in the past. Are her suspicions real? Is Sue having another mental breakdown? Is she reliable? Can we trust her?
Alongside the main thread of the story, the author has included diary entries dating back twenty years. This is Sue's past story, written in her own words and tell the story of her relationship with James, her ex-boyfriend. It is these diary entries that explain to the reader just why Sue acts as she does today. Sue was broken by James, broken almost beyond repair, and although she has managed to make a new life, it's clear that inside her there are still some pieces that haven't yet healed.
The Accident is a tense, tightly plotted and incredibly compelling story. There were times during the story that I felt chilled by the menace, so much so that I actually had to put the book down for a while. The story builds, the pace quickens and the suspense is quite electrifying.
C L Taylor has dealt with some disturbing issues within The Accident. The story is steeped in secrets and lies and how these can impact on relationships with those closest to us. Using stark language that doesn't hide anything, the reader is exposed to violence in the form of physical attacks, sexual assault and most chillingly; emotional abuse. Having once been in a relationship with a man who was extremely emotionally abusive, it was these passages that affected me the most - the authenticity of the writing, the exact mannerisms and words - this is extremely impressive writing.
Incredibly convincing, The Accident is a gripping read that will stay in my head for a long time.
My thanks to the team at LightBrigade PR and Avon Books who so cleverly sent out my proof copy.
I have two proof copies of The Accident to give away. Entry is simple, just complete the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.
I was delighted to meet Cally Taylor at the launch party for Rowan Coleman's The Memory Book, we were able to have a quick chat before I had to dash off. I'm delighted to welcome her here today to Random Things, she's been lovely enough to answer a few questions for me - thanks Cally x
Do you read reviews of your novels? Do you take them seriously?
Sometimes I wish I was the sort of author who doesn’t read their reviews and who keeps writing in a happy, secluded little bubble totally unaware of the impact her novels are having on the world at large – but I’m not.
I know I shouldn’t google for reviews of my books because, like most writers, I’ve got paper-thin skin, but I can’t help myself. I also stalk Amazon and Goodreads to see what readers are saying but I only tend to do it when a book is newly released to see what the reaction is like. Once a book is a couple of years old I stop paying attention – though a positive review will always make my heart leap!
How long does it take to write a novel?
It really depends on whether I’ve planned the novel beforehand or whether I’ve ‘pantsed’ it (made it up as I go along). I wrote ‘The Accident’ when I was on maternity leave with my son and, because his naps were only 45 minutes long, I had to tightly plot the novel beforehand so I could start writing the second he fell asleep. As a result the novel didn’t need much of a rewrite and I completed it in about nine months.
The novel I’m working on now has taken longer – over a year and counting. I wrote the first draft as part of Sally Quilford’s ‘write 100,000 words in 100 days’ challenge from January until April last year. I only had the vaguest idea of the plot when I started and I made it up as I went along. I then had to stop working on it for several months so I could do the UK and US edits, copyedits and proofs for ‘The Accident’ and only started rewriting in January of this year. I didn’t realise what the book was really about until I’d finished the first draft so I’m having to do a fairly extensive rewrite and it’s taking time. The next novel I write I’m going to plot within an inch of its life before I start writing. I’ve learnt my lesson – I’m not a panser!
Do you have any writing rituals?
I have to make sure I’ve got a drink and some chewing gum before I start writing and I can’t write if my feet are cold so I always make sure I’ve got my thick skiing socks to hand in case I need them (I hated skiing but the socks are great!).
What was your favourite childhood book?
‘The Magic Faraway Tree’ by Enid Blyton. I know Enid Blyton has a lot of detractors these days but I adored that book. I loved the characters and couldn’t wait to find out which wonderful or terrifying land they’d discover at the top of the tree next. That book fired my imagination and made me want to be a writer too.
Name one book that made you laugh?
I’m currently reading Rowan Coleman’s ‘TheMemory Book’ which is about a woman with early onset Alzheimer’s. You wouldn’t think a book like that could make you laugh but Claire, the main character, is so wonderfully warm and witty. When I read the line 'I bet it's better being demented on BUPA. Like NHS dementia, but with nicer food and Sky TV' I laughed out loud.
Name one book that made you cry?
‘A Monster Calls’ by Patrick Ness. It’s a book for children about a boy whose mum is dying from cancer and it’s so beautifully, tenderly written. It could have been terribly mawkish and sentimental but, instead, it was raw and honest and I cried buckets when it ended.
Which fictional character would you like to meet?
My first thought, when I read this question was ‘I bet everyone says Mr Darcy’. My second thought was ‘I’d like to meet Hannibal Lector actually’. Is that weird? I’d be utterly terrified of course and he’d have to remain safely behind bars but I did a lot of research into sociopaths before I started writing ‘The Accident’ and he’s such a fascinating character and a quintessential sociopath.
Which book would you give to your best friend as a present?
I’ve been recommending Julie Cohen’s ‘DearThing’ to everyone I meet. It was my favourite book of last year and I think the paperback version is going to be a meteoric success when it comes out in May. It’s about a woman who offers to be a surrogate for her best male friend and Julie deals with the subject with a tender, delicate touch whilst infusing the story with humour, tension and warmth. I can’t recommend it enough.
Are you inspired by any particular author or book?
I love Roald Dahl and hold him completely responsible for my love of a dark tale. I still remember reading his entire ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ back list as a teenager and being fascinated, horrified and compelled all at the same time. He’s the master of suspense in my eyes.
What is your guilty pleasure read?
I used to read trashy magazines on the train to work but I gave them up this year because a) most of the celebrity ‘news’ is made up b) it’s the same old thing week after week and c) I could use that time to read a novel instead.
Who are your favourite authors?
Margaret Atwood, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Alex Marwood, Iain Banks, Raymond Carver, Maggie O’Farrell, Lisa Jewell.
What book have you re-read?
‘After You’d Gone’ by Maggie O’Farrell. I won’t say too much about it so that I don’t give away any spoilers but I felt like I’d been punched in the emotional guts when I finished that book. I was mentally reeling for days. I read it several times after that initial read and have been planning to re-read it again soon. I haven’t read it since I became an author and I’m curious to see how she achieved the effect she did.
What book have you given up on?
I give up on quite a lot of books these days because my attention span isn’t what it was and life is too short to finish a bad book. The last book I gave up on was a book club choice – ‘The LastWerewolf’ by Glen Duncan. I just couldn’t get into it. Sorry Glen!
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