Everyone remembers the case, everyone remembers the pictures of the two sisters being escorted from their house where their parents lay murdered. After living a lie for the last thirteen years, the truth is finally about to come out and Sara Carter cannot hide for much longer.
Thank you to Pan Macmillan for approving my review request for this on NetGalley! 'When I Was Ten' is being published 15th April 2021 in hardback and you can get a signed-copy through Waterstones!
Nothing entices me more than a book described as "Deliciously sinister and genuinely disturbing", how perfect does that sound?! Disturbing thrillers really excite me as a fan of the psychological cause of crime, getting behind the reasons for why someone would commit a crime is so interesting to me. I knew immediately that I'd enjoy this, the different narratives create a back-and-forth that leads the reader to establish each character's voice from the first page. It also misbalances the reader and makes it difficult to get a clear picture, usually I'd hate this, being confused and having an unclear narrative throws me off but gradually the points start connecting up at the perfect pace to keep me engaged. It was the drip, drip, drip of hints and clues to the truth that made me actually love the initially confusing plot, it meant as it became clearer I was revelling in the skills Cummins used to hide and then reveal the truth.
The characters themselves were well-rounded and made for easy reading, once we establish their voice it becomes easy to see their goals and get an intuition toward their next move. Catherine in particular produced a level of sympathy from me, her 'perfect life' is at risk and her approach to everything is always in the view of protecting it and her family. Similarly, the relationships between the characters are established without having to deep-dive into their feelings, their actions and small descriptions in each interaction describe a fuller picture than what was just written on the page. However, the relationship between Brinley and her colleague seemed added for a bit of tension relief, there wasn't much to it that actually felt necessary to the story, it would have been just as effective as a friendship.
Cummins drops memories of their childhood throughout the novel that depict one version of events, picked specifically to give us some ideas as to what happened but in true thriller style the big reveal completely turned it around. I thought I was certain of one thing but was completely shocked to read the conclusion, you know a twist is coming (because let's be honest, it's a staple of the genre) but you don't expect this one and it makes for a very satisfying ending! You definitely need to be paying attention to every page of this novel, whilst it is very captivating there are a lot of different leads that need to be followed before they join up and explain the full picture.
This is enjoyable, it lives up to the description of "sinister and disturbing" in every way! If you want a really gripping psychological thriller you will want to pick this one up.