Durrant, whose work includes novels aimed at both children and adults, returns with a dark psychological thriller that’s very different from her forays into chick lit.
Gaby Mortimer, a presenter (the British term for a television host) on a London morning show, is out jogging when she comes across the body of a young woman. She calls the police, but before they arrive, she manages to contaminate the scene by touching the body. When investigators ask her about it, she denies having done it, but one officer, a detective named Perivale, doesn’t believe her. Soon, she finds herself besieged by the press, who line up outside the door of the upper-class and pricey residence she shares with her coldly distant husband, Philip, and precocious daughter, Millie. But hounding by the media isn’t the only problem she faces: Philip has gone off on a business trip to Singapore; Perivale is determined to arrest her and make her face the music; and the producers on her show have replaced her with a young woman who’s been edging into her job for months. Barricaded against the world, Gaby leans on her best friend, Clara, but it’s a freelance journalist who wants to write a story about her who ends up helping her find evidence in connection with the case. Durrant’s story is meticulous and detail-laden, with plenty of red herrings planted in order to keep readers bouncing from suspect to suspect. In addition, Gaby proves an interesting central character: a woman whose husband abandoned his marriage long ago and who now leads a privileged existence. However, the author’s tendency to overwrite evolves into a failure to leave enough to the reader’s imagination to make this a truly memorable read.
A decent story and probably Durrant’s best to date, but her decision not to explain the plethora of British references could prove a distraction to American readers.