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The Island: A gripping new emotional psychological crime thriller with a difference Paperback – 24 May 2021
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- Publisher : HarperCollins GB (24 May 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 000756967X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0007569670
- Dimensions : 12.9 x 2.74 x 19.8 cm
- Customer Reviews:
‘McPherson is a beautiful writer whose voice is intense and intelligent. This exploration of the ever-expanding destructive effects of bad ideas is emotional, painful and utterly memorable’ Alex Marwood, bestselling author of The Wicked Girls
Praise for Ben McPherson:
‘Ben McPherson has a very distinctive voice, and A Line of Blood is cleverly put together’ Val McDermid
‘McPherson displays a rare skill for creating characters with depth in a world that is splintering around them’ Daily Mail
‘I read this in one sitting, gripped from the opening page by the twisty plot and a family so damaged I couldn't bear to leave them’ Clare Mackintosh
‘A chilling and compelling read, beautifully written…’ Renée Knight, bestselling author of Disclaimer
‘It is both an extraordinary novel and thriller, and brilliantly written’ Claire Kendal, bestselling author of The Book of You
‘A beautifully-written psychological thriller’ Mark Edwards, author of The Magpies
‘Gripping from the get-go, A Line of Blood will have readers wondering what they might be capable of in the face of the terrible isolation of self within a family running off the rails’ Tami Hoag, bestselling author of the Kovac & Liska series
‘A tense, touching, smartly written thriller with a very clever twist. McPherson is an impressive new voice’ Tim Lott, author of White City Blue
‘A hugely impressive debut, well written and psychologically acute; a devastating depiction of a family tearing itself apart’ Paul Johnston, author of the Matt Wells thriller series
A gripping new emotional psychological crime thriller with a difference
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Top reviews from other countries
Elsa and Cal are a happily married couple with three children. They've been together for years, their relationship is strong and is built on truth. They don't lie to each other, and they don't expect their children to lie either. Cal is Scottish, Elsa is Norwegian and they've moved from Washington DC to live in Norway for six months. They are due to return to the States very soon with teenage daughters Licia and Vee and baby son Franklin.
However, a tragic and horrendous incident puts their plans on hold. Licia has recently gone off to summer camp celebrating International Future Females which is held on a small island just off Oslo.
News has just come in about an explosion at the official Government buildings in Oslo and whilst this is shocking and terrifying for the family, it isn't until they hear about a mass shooting on a small island that they realise just how close to home these atrocities are.
Licia is missing. Her body is not found. However, there is camera footage taken from a helicopter flying overhead that shows a girl answering her description in the water, alive. A small boy testifies that he was saved by this girl. Licia becomes the hero of the island, known throughout the country as the girl who selflessly saved others before herself.
Nobody can be unaware of the case of Anders Breivik, the far-right terrorist who committed the appalling acts in Norway in 2011. He planted a bomb in Oslo and then shot dead 69 people on the nearby island of Utoya. Whilst it is clear that Ben McPherson has been influenced by the Breivik case in The Island, this is not that story. This is a completely different story and whilst it has themes of terrorism and white supremacy, this is really a story of a family. Of their relationships and how these are altered by events, combined with a detailed and rich look at how the most ordinary of families can be picked apart by things outside of their control.
Cal and Elsa are extraordinarily well created. The contrast between Cal's warm Scottish nature, his way of using humour to deflect and his consuming love for his family and Elsa's Norwegian iciness is so very well done. Elsa is blunt and to the point, she has relationship rules that she expects others to adhere to, yet she hides so much ... the reader is never quite sure just where Elsa sits within this story.
This author incorporates Cal's ever growing feeling of being an outsider throughout the narrative. Everyone he meets, from the chief of Police to the local reporter comments on the fact that he is not Norwegian, they assume that he's English, and rather than continue to correct them, he just goes with it. Cal is often frustrated by the Norwegian police, he feels as though Licia is being let down, and despite the fact that he has a strong, personal relationship with the Chief of Police, his ever increasing frustration is apparent.
The Island is a chilling psychological thriller that kept me awake at night. The reality is that whilst this is a fictional story, it is taken from the truth, and the horrors of the rise of the white supremacist in Europe is explored in all of its hate-filled fury is laid bare. It's also a study in how young people can be groomed and influenced by this. How families with the best values at their core can be infected by the political ideology that totally goes against what they've always believed.
Ben McPherson is a master story teller. This brilliantly unnerving read leaves the reader in shock, with questions of their own. It is brilliantly and sensitively written. Certainly a contender for my Top Books of the Year list.
It's worth your time to continue reading this book.