It’s been my absolute privilege to feature C.L. Taylor on Linda’s Book Bag before when Cally wrote a super guest post about the things that terrified her as a child (here) when The Missing was being launched, when we bloggers revealed her novel The Escape (here) and more recently when I reviewed The Treatment in a post you can read here.
Today I am reviewing Cally’s latest book, The Fear, and would like to thank Sabah Khan at Avon Books for sending me a copy in return for an honest review. I was so sorry I couldn’t participate in the blog tour as I didn’t trust automatic scheduling whilst I was away on holiday, but am delighted to have been able to review anyway.
Published by Avon Books, an imprint of Harper Collins, The Fear is available for purchase through these links.
Sometimes your first love won’t let you go…
When Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, she thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.
Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused.
But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…
My review of The Fear
Boyfriend Ben’s attempt at a romantic surprise backfires dreadfully for Lou.
The Fear is a twisty, clever thriller that held me spellbound from start to finish. There are elements where the reader needs to suspend disbelief as characters don’t always behave rationally and there are a couple of inconsistencies with regard to phone signals for example, but these have no negative effect at all because the plot is so thrilling and engaging and C.L. Taylor writes so well and convincingly. On several occasions I had to put down The Fear as I was reading to give myself a break, often exclaiming ,’Ooo’ as I did so because it has such a claustrophobic and disturbing atmosphere.
At times I found the subject matter very uncomfortable to read, with a much older man exploiting teenage girls, especially in the italicised first person accounts of the past from Lou, but I think this is one of the many successes of the writing. C.L. Taylor makes the reader understand completely how the inappropriate relationships develop and how plausible such manipulative men like Mike can be. I loved the way she illustrated the impact of such behaviours on so many people and I found Wendy a particularly strong, obsessive individual who gained my empathy despite her own creepy behaviour.
I found myself completely invested in the characters, desperate to know what happened to them all and even having finished the book, I’m still thinking about Chloe and Lou especially, because they felt so real to me.
However, as well as being a highly entertaining story, The Fear has many layers of depth that really cause the reader to contemplate society and how we judge and are judged by others. The impact of social media, sexuality and the way in which teenage girls can be so affected by their sense of self-image, the attitudes of the press and the police all swirl beneath the surface of a cracking story so that there is enhanced intensity. Not every person who commits a crime is caught and punished and I think this is what makes C.L. Taylor such a good writer. She doesn’t always provide easy answers and solutions, so that her writing has a genuine supremacy. She makes her readers think whilst entertaining them brilliantly.
I thought The Fear was a corker of a read. It’s one of those books that worms its way under a reader’s skin and doesn’t let them forget it in a hurry. I really recommend it.
About C. L Taylor
C.L. Taylor studied for a degree in Psychology at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle then moved to London to work as a shipping co-ordinator for a medical publishing company. Made redundant after two years she re-trained and moved to Brighton where she worked as a graphic designer, web developer and instructional designer over the course of 13 years. She currently works 4 days a week as a Distance Learning Design and Development manager for a London university, looks after her toddler son 3 days a week and squeezes in writing her novels when she should be sleeping.