Accidents Happen: A Novel by Louise Millar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Having absolutely adored this authors debut novel The Playdate I eagerly anticipated her next book and when I spotted it available for review on Netgalley I instantly applied to read an advance copy - I knew her first book was going to be a hard act to follow ... I'm relieved to say this didn't disappoint.
Accidents happen is another startlingly complex look inside a deeply traumatised mind and a mixture of flawed and complex characters. I found it quite hard to follow at the beginning but this is the authors deliberate attempt to build a sense of suspense and an atmosphere of strangeness and all does become clear if you stick with it.
It's clear from the very beginning that Kates behavior is a little bit peculiar, she is strange and emotionally disturbed, she believes that life is out to get her and that bad things which occur must be more than mere coincidence and she obsesses about facts and figures pertaining to the probability of accidents. Unable to accept that accidents ARE merely coincidences, as her background is revealed we begin to understand her habits better as we realise she has had some truly awful things happen, which would make any of us begin to freak out.
Since she was widowed in one of these dreadful past events, she has made her son Jack her main priority, but in her bid to insulate him against life's knocks she has become an overprotective Mum who can be an embarrassment to a ten year old boy. Her in laws try and act as a buffer but their bewilderment at her increasingly bizarre behaviour begins to cause greater rifts in this fractured family.
It's a relief to all concerned when Kate finally meets someone who seems able to help her overcome her fears and obsessions and gradually she begins to feel a future without fear may be a dim possibility, but of course this is a thriller and things that seem too good to be true usually are and what begins as an exercise in helping her to overcome her compulsions evolves into something much more warped and sinister.
This is quite a difficult book to review without giving too much away, its a fairly complex plot with lots of twists, it changes pace quite a bit and the middle part although never dull begins to lull you into a sense of false security making you believe this is just going to be a nice romance with a happy ending in sight - don't be fooled, it builds excellently towards a very tense and twisted climax you won't want to miss.