If she did it by Jessica Treadway – a review

As I have mentioned many times before, one of the best things about the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is the abundance of new books and writers that are around. The goodie bag this year was a thing of beauty, sturdy, black and full of books. Of course it does always lead to a bit of sibling rivalry as it seems the contents of no two book bags are the same, and this year it did look that my sister got the better haul.
However disappointment never hangs around long in Harrogate and I soon found a spare copy of one I had my eye on – If She Did It by Jessica Treadwell. An intriguing black cover with the strapline ‘The only thriller you need to take home from Harrogate this year’ it was impossible not to pick up.
If She Did It begins when Hanna finds out that the man who is in prison for murdering her husband Joe is being granted an appeal. The man, Rud Petty, was their daughter Dawn’s boyfriend. Hanna and her husband were attacked by Rud in their bedroom. Many people think that Dawn was involved but Hanna can’t remember what happened and refuses to believe her daughter could be so terrifying.
If She Did It was termed a ‘domestic noir’ which I think is a great term and a category that I personally really enjoy. This book was no exception. The story is told from Hanna’s point of view, both present day as her daughter Dawn returns home and flashbacks to the time prior to that attack. The story is not exactly fast moving and it is all told from one point of view so can feel a bit stifling but that was what made it so gripping. Not only did I want to find out who had actually killed Joe it was intriguing to see how the relationships between mother, daughter and sister Iris would pan out.
As is often the case with these kind of books, the heroines are by no means perfect, in fact they are often downright annoying. There was a part of me that just wanted to shake Hanna and make her realise what was in front of her. Especially during the flashbacks to Dawn’s childhood and the elements where you were hard pushed to believe that she didn’t realise that there was something wrong. However equally the idea of having to admit that the child you love might have problems and even be capable of such a horrific act must be terrible. Clearly love can be blind which is really the theme of this book, and the ending gave it a nice feeling of completion.
This was a really enjoyable book which whilst not perfect makes you think. It was another great pick up from the festival, and I will be looking forward to reading more from this author.

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Filed under book review, Theakstons Festival

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