The ACCIDENT by C. L. Taylor
Genre– YA Psychological Thriller//Crime
Published by– AVON in April 2014
This debut novel from C. L. Taylor really did capture my imagination and keep me indulged throughout. My general conglomeration of feelings for the book would have to be those of amazement, intrigue and fascination. This stand-alone novel is penned beautifully to chart the tempestuous adventures of Susan Jackson as she tries desperately to snatch at any tangents as to why her daughter, Charlotte, walked in front of a
bus and is presently lying comatose in hospital; she is forced to face a very dark reality when she reads a horrifying entry in her daughter’s diary as to why she may have attempted to kill herself.
The story is split into two sub-sections running parallel to each other. Interspersed in our intrepid following of Sue’s journey to find out what happened on the night of her daughter’s death are her diary entries from 20 years prior. These explicitly add tension and drama to the main plot line and I just ADORED the inclusion of them: I really do think that they shaped my perception of the protagonist. The intertwining of Sue’s past and present marry together so well and really make the book stand out.
This book will have you screaming out to tell Sue to leave her abusive relationship with a certain “James Evans” – I had to physically put the book down at certain points because I needed a breather from all of my pent up frustration, and irritation regarding their relationship. However stressful and tense it was though, I was always compelled to conjure up the whim to pick the book back up and delve deeper into the despair.
“Strong? I was impossibly weak. I’d spent four years of my life with a monster of a man, being tortured by hate dressed up as love. I’d been humiliated, belittled, berated and cross-examined. I’d been judged, ignored, criticised and rejected,. I’d cut myself off from my friends and my family, lost my job and been made to choose between my life’s dream and my love for James. And I hadn’t walked away.” – Susan Jackson
We are kept on a constant, relentless high of anticipation and craving for the truth, something which eventually does arise however long it took to arrive there.
JAMES EVANS – Usually, It would make sense to start the character dissection with the protagonist, but I don’t think it’s possible for me to write any longer without sharing my sheer annoyance at this man.
I don’t think there has been a character from any one novel that I have been more disgusted and irritated by. He is certifiably unhinged and verging on border-line psychotic (at some points, I would say that he goes above and beyond to earn himself this title). He is probably the SOLE reason of my pernicious mood when reading sections of the book and he truly is a character in his own league of drama – he certainly does propel the plot though and adds so much depth to the protagonist he may as well have written the novel from his own point of view. This makes him one of the best characters I have ever seen/read about, and C. L. Taylor did a superb job in bringing him to life on the page.
SUE JACKSON – Unruly and relentless, but that is why I find myself drawn to her to such a substantial extent. The struggle in her personal investigation makes me really connect with her on a tangible level but I must admit that without the input of her diary interjections, I think we’d struggle to like her. And this is why this novel has been written so superbly. Sue is constantly painted as being the mad sufferer of PSTD and it is just so pertinent that even she herself has come to believe that she is crazy.
“How many times can you cry wolf before the men in white coats come out with a nice white coat of your own to wear?” – Susan Jackson
However by the end of the novel we all know James is the only “psycho” present and Sue returns to being an intent mother with a knack for delivering some corkers of one-liners.
There are other brilliantly penned characters, in particular Keisha Malley and Danny Argent, however, a few others that though vital to the storyline, are pretty redundant in personality: Oli Jackson, and Alex Henri I’m looking at you.
What I LOVED:
- The interspersion of our protagonist’s past and present (I know I’ve raved about this an excessive amount now)
- The character development and interaction throughout – some of the scenes between Sue and Danny/Ella regarding Charlotte are just brilliant.
- The actual happenings of the night Charlotte died, and the steady unravelling of clues throughout.
- THE CONSTANT PANIC AND ANTICIPATION OF A CERTAIN JAMES EVANS SHOWING UP AT ANY ONE MOMENT. *eek*
- The ending (I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say it ties together all of the book and is a brilliant way to close the stand-alone novel).
What I DISLIKED:
- Perversely, the ending as well. It seemed a little too perfect and well-rounded at the edges (also we never actually find out what happens to Charlotte in the text which I absolutely HATE because there is no follow-up novel.)
- James and Sue’s relationship – but my dislike for it spurred the whole of my reaction to the novel so I’ll allow it!
- Some characters seemed a little redundant and under-developed.
- Sue not taking her anxiety pills and Brian not really following her up on it – be a good husband, and make sure she’s taking them! Gah.
- The absurdity of some of the James/Sue scenes.
A gripping and superb debut novel, especially since I’m not overly keen on crime/thrillers.
I 110% recommend you check out THE ACCIDENT if you haven’t already, if for no other reason than I need someone to discuss this novel, and my passionate disliking of James to. Seriously though, this is a brilliantly penned novel that captures your imagination and takes you on a journey that you won’t be able to leave half-finished.
(Overall: 8.5/10 or 4.25 stars)
I loved reading a story from an older person’s perspective as opposed to a teenager, and the main plot line was pretty solid. The characters were mostly awe-inspiring and thought-provoking (hence the 9/10 score) but didn’t quite reach full marks as there were a few under-explored personas. I wish I could write more about this novel, but I’ve just hit a rather lengthy 1100 words and so have decided to end this here – if you would like more information, the links to check out the book are below, and I will be writing a spoiler-infested review to splurge plot secrets that have been niggling at me for my personal well-being soon.
As always, thanks for stopping by!