Released: 9th January 2020
Publisher: Viking / Penguin
Genre: Psychological thriller
From the Sunday Times bestselling author of Sister comes an electrifying, pulse-racing new novel that takes us deep into the heart of what it means to be human
'Superb' Kate Mosse
'ASTONISHING. Powerful, terrifying, heartbreaking' Emma Flint
'One of the most exhilarating reading experiences I've ever had' Emma Healey
'A stunner of a book. Staggeringly good' Jane Fallon
'SO gripping, intelligent, timely, affecting and moving' Marian Keyes
Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds.
It is a morning's lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods.
It is an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible.
It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.
In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. From the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16 year old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre, all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption.
I read this book in three days but I feel like it will stay with me for a long time.
It's one that I find hard to categorise - there's a strong element of psychological thriller mixed with a social commentary that is horrifyingly poignant.
As you know from the blurb, a school in Somerset is under attack and the narrative follows various characters throughout the timescale of the title as the drama unfolds.
I won't include any spoilers here, but there is a fairly monumental twist within the pages that made me put the book down in surprise and then snatch it back up to keep reading. Up to that point, I'd found the book a slow-burning, character-driven story where the author brings you into this isolated world she's created to understand these people and their connections. From that twist though, the pace stepped up and I read on more quickly to devour the rest of the book.
I found it gripping, unnerving, hopeful and insightful in terms of how the characters reacted through their own various scenarios.
It's a hard book to read, and as such I feel strange saying that I enjoyed it. Having said that, I think it's a fantastic novel that looks more at the how's and why's than the what. I feel as if this is a story that will live under my skin for a while, and is an important one to share around. Thanks so much to Penguin for sending me a copy of this for review, and to Ellie Hudson for inviting me to begin the blog tour - Some amazing other bloggers involved so check them out at the top of the post, I'm looking forward to seeing the other reviews. I also urge you to add this to your 2020 wish list.