Scars. We all carry them. Some are mere scratches. Others run deeper.
At a school rife with bullying, Will and his best friend Luke are involved in a horrific incident that results in Luke leaving.
Twenty-five years later their paths cross again and memories of Will's painful childhood come flooding back to haunt him. His wife, Harmony, who is struggling after a miscarriage that has hit her hard, wishes Will would open up about his experiences. But while Will withdraws further, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic stranger from her husband s past, and soon all three are caught in a tangled web of guilt, desire, betrayal.
The Judas Scar is Amanda Jennings' second novel and is published by Cutting Edge Press on 1 May 2014.
Things are never quite as they seem on the outside. That's certainly true of Will and Harmony's marriage. They appear to be rock solid. Married for twenty years and so in love, both have careers that they enjoy, they love their quirky flat, they have many friends. But this is a story about scars and their marriage bears a huge scar. Harmony lost their unborn child a few months ago, and she is hurting. Will has always been clear that he doesn't want to be a father, and when Harmony decides that she'd like to try for another baby, the old wounds beneath Will's scars open up and he discloses a secret that could potentially rip their world apart.
As Harmony deals with Will's disclosure she finds herself drawn towards Luke; an old friend from Will's schooldays. Will and Luke have matching, visible scars - across the palm of their hands and created when they decided that they were blood brothers and would never let each other down. It is clear though, as the story progresses, that Luke has invisible scars too. He and Will are not comfortable in each other's company, there are secrets in their past that have never been discussed, and Luke intends to make someone pay for the way that his life turned out.
Amanda Jennings's writing is broody and dark, there is an underlying tension throughout this novel that is just waiting to explode. Will and Harmony are well-formed characters, they both have issues; Will can't bear to talk about his schooldays or his late Father, Harmony struggles to cope with the loss of those that she has loved; her Father, her Mother and her unborn child.
Luke is obsessive. He sets his sights on Harmony and is not prepared to give up until he has got what he wants. Obsessions, tormentors, bullying and scars; both hidden and visible - these are the themes that run through The Judas Scar, and as the story twists and turns to the shocking conclusion, the reader is swept along by the wonderfully descriptive writing.
The Judas Scar is one of those novels that you need to keep reading ..... just one more page ..... because the instant that you put it down, you'll be thinking of it, and when you finish it, you'll be wondering about it for quite a while.
Tense, tightly plotted with characters that are by no means perfect, and in some cases just twisted. I was totally transfixed by the story - an excellent read from a talented author.
My thanks to the team at Cutting Edge Press who sent my copy for review.
Amanda is mother to three daughters and lives in chaotic contentment just outside Henley-on-Thames with a houseful of pets and a husband.
For more information about the author and her books visit her website www.amandajennings.co.uk