Monday, 3 September 2012

Split Second - Cath Staincliffe


QUOTE from the publishers blurb:

On a winter's evening, a trio of unruly teenagers board a bus, ganging up on Luke Murray, hurling abuse and threatening to kill him. The bus is full but no one intervenes until Jason Barnes, a young student, challenges the gang. Luke seizes the chance to run off the bus, but he's followed.

Andrew Barnes is dragged from the shower by his wife Valerie: there's a fight in the front garden and Jason's trying to break it up. As Andrew rushes to help, the gang flees. Jason shouts for an ambulance for Luke, but it is he who will pay the ultimate price.

Split Second, Cath Staincliffe's insightful and moving novel, explores the impact of violent crime - is it ever right to look the other way?


What a fabulous read, the characters are intensely real and the descriptions of their emotions are amazingly well handled.

Shy, plump Emma is taking a late bus ride home when 3 Chavs get on and begin harassing and racially abusing a young lad sitting a few seats in front.

Emma is appalled and frightened, she wants them to stop but is also scared they'll notice her and turn their attentions to her and as they get more violent and nobody else intervenes we share her feelings of fear and disgust.

When they all get off the bus she hopes its the end of the incident but its just the beginning of a new nightmare.

What follows is a tragedy which affects many lives and we are drawn into those lives with stunning ease peeling back the layers of peoples lives.

Its mainly the story of the families of Luke the bullied boy and Jason another young man who is the only one to come to his aid. The repercussions really are like ripples in a pool spreading outwards.

As Emma is called as a witness we learn more about her background and her character and I can honestly say I don't think I have ever hated anyone as much as I loathed and despised her father - so much that I shook every time he appeared on the page! My empathy for her was intense and vivid.

My only slight drawback was the rather lengthy and dull courtroom scenes which although necessary to the conclusion weren't nearly as enjoyable to read and made the ending a little dull after a sparkling and fast paced main story.

I would compare this in some ways to One Moment, One Morning as they both deal with the aftermath of events and the lives it touches.

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