24 Hours by Claire Seeber – a review

I was given a copy of this by netgalley.

24 Hours starts with a fire at a hotel where Laurie and her best friend Emily are spending the night. Emily dies but Laurie believes that she is the intended target and therefore her daughter could also be in danger. So begins a frantic race by Laurie across the UK to try and get to her daughter first.

This story is told both from a present day viewpoint as Laurie spends 24 hours trying to get to her daughter, and also by flash back scenes. Through these flashbacks we find out about not only the unpleasant and violent relationship with her husband Sid, but also a new relationship with the father of a boy in her daughters school. At the beginning Laurie is convinced that it is her ex-husband who is the danger. However as she becomes increasingly desperate she becomes more unsure as to who she can trust.

I enjoyed reading this. The structure worked well and the 24 hour time frame gave it a sense of urgency that meant it felt like a fast paced thriller. However unfortunately something just didn’t really work for me. It all felt a little John Cleese like (In his film, Clockwise. I remember watching it years ago and just wanting to shout ‘stop, shut up, think’ the whole way through) Whilst obviously it would be difficult to get from Devon to Ashford train station with no money, according to Google maps you could walk it in 9 hours, so quite why it takes her 15 hours via a combination of trains, hitch hiking and car theft I don’t know.  Clearly her sense of direction is as bad as mine.

I also felt that the motives for the varying elements of the novel were a bit thin, there were the usual standard ex-husband with glamorous new partner, the best friend who is bad with men, the new boyfriend with a shady past, they were all covered here.

However despite my misgivings there were lots that I really enjoyed about it. The writing itself was very fluid and despite the constant backwards and forwards it didn’t seem at all disjointed. Plus you really start to care about Laurie getting to her daughter, despite the rather circuitous route she seems to take. All in all I did enjoy it, and it certainly passed the time on a foggy train ride to Manchester.

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