The harrowing collapse of a Scottish bridge links three lost souls as they lurch toward an even more horrifying finale.
Ron, Annabel and Silva are all in their different ways among the missing. Ron, who’s just completed a prison term for inadvertently causing the disastrous bus accident that killed a pregnant teacher and six schoolchildren, is working a job for which he has no credentials. Annabel ran away from her 50-year-old bridegroom Colin after he refused to accept any responsibility for the baby she was carrying. Silva has always felt that she was merely the substitute for the baby of her mother’s friend, who died while Silva’s mother was pregnant. Now, in the aftermath of the catastrophic wreck of the bridge near Netherloch that brought them together to make an ad hoc household in an out-of-the-way trailer, each of them is keeping a secret. Ron, of course, tells no one about his sorry recent past. Annabel doesn’t give her real name (it’s not Annabel) when she approaches Silva looking for companionship. Nor does she tell her that, desperate for money, she’d illegally sold her rental car to Silva’s husband Stefan for £3000 just before he and his daughter Anna set out across the bridge. And Silva doesn’t even admit to herself what’s clear to the other two: that her husband and child were among the victims. As spring turns to summer and then fall, repair work proceeds on the bridge as Annabel’s baby grows within her. It’s only a matter of time, however, before the secrets are revealed in a way that guarantees pity and terror.
Joss (The Night Following, 2008, etc.) builds the relationships among her sad trio slowly, through excruciatingly subtle modulations of tone. But the ending fully justifies every intimation of imminent doom.