Monday 6 August 2018

Review ~ All the Hidden Truths by Claire Askew


9 August 2018

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

What's it all about..

After fourteen people die in a a college shooting in Edinburgh, three woman contend with the crime: the mother of the first victim, the mother of the murderer and the cop who is tasked with the investigation.

My thoughts about it..

The shooting which takes place at Three Rivers College in Edinburgh is the focus for this multi-layered drama, which concentrates, not so much on the actual killing spree, but which cleverly focuses on the aftermath as seen through the eyes of the three women who are the most profoundly affected by the tragedy. The mother of the perpetrator, the mother of the first victim and the newly promoted Detective Inspector, all have a vital role in the way this powerful story is allowed to evolve. Their anguish, bitterness and frustration as their individual worlds fall apart is a fascinating study into how people react under horrific circumstances.

All the Hidden Truths is about all those subtle and hidden nuances which are so easily lost, and generally forgotten in daily life but in the cold light of such an event, the hidden truths are the ones that matter; they're the ones that shape our actions and which set us on the road to destiny. Never sensationalising the effect of the tragedy, the author writes with a keen observational eye on what is going on in the background. From snippets of information as they appear on websites and social media, to the relentless pursuit of the victims by the rat like ferreting of a member of the gutter press, there is never a moment when the story doesn't pull you into the very heart of this tragedy.

All the Hidden Truths is a sensitive and emotional read and one that needs time invested in reading it. It’s not a story to be rushed, although the temptation is there to read it greedily, but rather appreciate all the clever twists and turns of this impressive story. Beautifully written with all the emotion you can imagine from reliving such a earth-shattering event and one which is all too topical, the author captures the atmosphere, the terror and the confusion with a keen eye for all the hidden details.

I’m sure that I won’t be the first to say this, but after finishing the book and sitting for a moment to consider the story as a whole, I thought that All the Hidden Truths is a stunning debut which, it must be said, has all the vital ingredients for an utterly compelling TV drama.

Claire Askew is a poet, novelist and community educator based in Edinburgh. Her debut novel in progress was winner of the 2016 Lucy Cavendish Prize for Fiction, and longlisted for the 2014 Peggy Chapman-Andrews (Bridport) novel award. Claire holds a PhD in Creative writing from the University of Edinburgh and has won avariety of accolades for her work, including the Jessie Kesson Fellowship and a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award. 

Her debut poetry collection, This Changes Things, was published by Bloodaxe in 2016 and shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and a Saltire First Book Award. In 2016 Claire was selected as a Scottish Book 

Trust Reading Champion, and she works as the Scotland tutor for women’s writing initiatives Write Like AGrrrrl! And #Grrrlcon 

Twitter @OneNightStanzas #AllTheHiddenTruths

All the Hidden Truths will be published in hardback on the 9th August by Hodder&Stoughton

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