When this book landed on the long list for the Man Booker Prize, bearing in mind that it is crime fiction, I knew I had to read it.
The Blurb:- Snap decisions can be dangerous… On a stifling summers’ day, eleven year old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken down car, waiting or their mother to come back and rescue them. Jack’s in charge, she’d said. I won’t be long.
But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed for ever.
Three years later, Jack is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother…
The writing is marvellous. The characters are marvellous. The bumbling cops Bauer writes about remind me of several that I worked with. The politics and ham-fisted police investigation are not fictitious. And they made me laugh. The rawness of three young kids living alone and trying to fend for themselves having suffered the loss of their mother and the departure of their father just really isn’t too difficult for me to believe in. Jack being one of the best burglars in the area aged 15 is utterly believable. And it is all these matters that help you read past and accept some of the unbelievable bits. Some of the twists and turns were a little difficult for me to accept but nevertheless I was able to overlook them because the writing was so good. I just really enjoyed the read. The story kept moving and took me with it. It loosely reminds me of a murder I worked on – how you can just be in the wrong place at the wrong time when someone evil has just had a row with their other half and takes it out on you. It’s all so possible!
This really is a great, solid bit of crime fiction. It’s not a Booker prize winner surely but you wouldn’t ever be disappointed to have spent your precious time reading it.