Review: You Had It Coming by B.M. Carroll

 

Title: You Had It Coming

Author: B.M. Carroll

Published: 13th May 2021, Viper

Status: Read May 2021 courtesy Viper/Netgalley UK

+++++++

My Thoughts:

 

“Someone else must hate him as much as we do.”

As paramedic Megan Lowe loads a patient suffering gunshot wounds into her ambulance she is stunned to realise she recognises the man. Twelve years previously William Newson was the barrister who successfully gained the acquittal of the two men who raped her, by labelling her and her best friend Jess as liars. Homicide Squad detective Bridget Kennedy is suspicious of the coincidence, but she quickly learns that plenty of people thought he had coming, defending sexual predators has won the dead man few fans, including among his family.

You Had It Coming unfolds from the alternating perspectives of Megan, Jess and Bridget. Instinctively on learning of Newson’s death, both Megan and Jess feel that he deserves his fate, still angry about his role in their trial. While the women were victims of the same crime, their reactions in the aftermath have been quite different. Jess has arguably coped better in the intervening years, but then the fall out could be said to have been more dramatic for Megan, regardless both are living quite different lives from what they had planned at 17. I admired Carroll’s portrayal of both women, who come across as complex, authentic characters.

Carroll offers us a glimpse into Bridget’s personal life, and the effect her work as a detective has on her family. With a teenage daughter and son of her own, Bridget can’t help but be affected by Megan and Jess’s experiences.

I also appreciated the authenticity of Bridget’s investigation. She and her colleagues follow up on all the information that comes their way, sifting through evidence, leads and suspects. Carroll provides the reader with a number of potential suspects, and does well to keep many of them in play ensuring suspense is maintained, the stakes rising when the body of another man related to Megan and Jess’s case is discovered in suspicious circumstances.

Carroll explores a number of themes such as trauma, justice, shame, guilt and revenge. She also exposes the flaws of the justice system, particularly when it involves sexual assault, and illustrates how the consequences of the crime is rarely confined to just the perpetrators and victims. I felt her portrayal of all the issues was sensitive and respectful.

A blend of domestic thriller and police procedural, I found You Had It Coming to be a suspenseful and thought-provoking novel.

+++++++

Available from Serpents Tail

Or from your preferred retailer via HiveUK I Book Depository I Booko I Amazon

and Allen & Unwin RRP AUD$29.99

Review: Who We Were by B.M. Carroll

Title: Who We Were

Author: B.M. Carroll

Published: April 28th 2020, Viper

Status: Read May 2020 courtesy Allen & Unwin

++++++

My Thoughts:

Who We Were is an entertaining, fast paced contemporary suspense novel from Irish born Australian author B.M.Carroll, (who pens womens fiction as Ber Carroll).

In organising their twenty year high school reunion, Katy Barclay invites her former school mates of Macquarie High to answer a few questions to create an update of their yearbook. Annabel is the first to receive a spiteful email with her questions completed by someone else, Grace is next. In both instances the mystery writer knows details about their lives that no stranger should. Katy initially dismisses it as a thoughtless prank but soon more of her classmates, notably members of a particular clique, are targeted.

Who We Were unfolds from multiple viewpoints giving each character the opportunity to share their current lives, and their perspectives on their shared past. Katy, as the reunion organiser, acts as the story’s anchor. Along with Annabel (and by extension her husband Jarrod) and Grace, whom have remained friends over the years, we also meet Melissa, Luke, Zach and Robbie. I found the characters recognisable, and even relatable, both as teenagers, (as it happens my highschool ‘Queen Bee’ was also named Annabel), and as adults (like Grace I’m a SAHM of four).

Most of the group harbour regrets from their high school days (I think there are few of us who don’t), and any one of them could have reason to be holding a grudge. Carroll carefully lays misdirects and red herrings as the threats escalate, which left me guessing as to the identity of the guilty party for most of the novel.

With a dramatic conclusion, a well crafted plot and interesting characters, I really enjoyed Who We Were, and I’m happy to recommend it.

++++++

Available from Allen & Unwin RRP AUD$29.99

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Amazon US I Amazon UK