The latest from award-winning crime writer Belinda Bauer, winner of the UK National Book Award, and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Snap is a gripping novel about a teenage boy’s hunt for his mother’s killer. Eileen Bright puts her 11-year-old son Jack in charge when she left their broken-down car on the side of the road to find help. But she never comes back, and three years later, Jack’s still in charge: of his sisters, of making ends meet, of making sure nobody knows they’re all alone in the house, andquite suddenlyof finding out who murdered his mother. Meanwhile, a young woman named Catherine While wakes to find a knife beside her bed, and a note reading “I could have killed you.” With a husband on the road and a baby on the way, Catherine makes a single bad choice that leads her into a tangled web of deception and danger. A stylish, masterfully written novel that will have readers on the edge of their seats, Snap is Belinda Bauer at the height of her powers.
I always anxiously await a new Belinda Bauer title, so I was excited to download Snap onto my new Nook device. Bauer captures the beauty of light and dark every time, combining wit and dry humor with stunningly depraved villains and hair-raising circumstances. In Snap, 14-year-old Jack is so engaging and heroic that I wanted to bring him home and nurture him. Bauer always creates the best of quirky characters. In Snap, her curmudgeonly Detective Marvel is a delight, redeeming himself quite ably. Usually, reading a Belinda Bauer book is a delicious indulgence for me. In 2018's political climate, it's an absolutely necessary distraction.
More than 1 year ago
One hot summers day the Bright family, pregnant mum Eileen, son Jack, and daughters Merry and Joy are travelling in the family car when it breaks down. Eileen pulls the car onto the hard shoulder and tells the kids not to get out and to wait for her as she sets off to go and find an emergency phone box and call for help.
After sitting in the car for hours Jack makes the decision to go and look for his mum, taking his younger sisters with him. Unfortunately, when they reach the box their mother is nowhere to be seen. Luckily they are picked up and taken home by a police officer.
Over the coming weeks, the police are out searching for Eileen. The family all hope to have her home safely, but when her body is discovered this is the start of the downfall for all of them.
Snap is an amazing read. The words just flowed and the story seemed to develop at differing speeds, sometimes everything moved quickly, at others the plot seemed to slow down. After the initial disappearance and then the discovery of Eileen’s body, the book jumps three years and now fourteen-year-old Jack is looking after his little sisters, we also meet a new character, heavily pregnant Catherine While.
Jack is a very likeable character even with his flaws. You can understand why he does the things he does. It is all for his family. I actually felt sorry for him, well for all of them really, little children having to grow up without a mum, knowing that she was taken from them in such a hideous way.
The book has plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes. Ms. Bauer does like to suddenly introduce new people into the story though, such as the detectives Marvel and Reynolds. However, once you get to know them you suddenly see why they are they. The more you read the more you will come to see that all the separate plots are not just joined but intermingled.
I got through the book in no-time and I found it thrilling and oh-so-enjoyable. I do have some tiny little issues with the book, hence I awarded it 4.5 stars rather than 5. We are never told the reason behind the killing of Eileen. Yes, we find out who killed her, but we are never told why. Also, the way the book ends for the culprit had me wanting more.
The above is just my personal take on the book. Some people might not need to know why, but I felt like I did.
More than 1 year ago
Ominous, twisty, and unnerving!
Snap is a menacing, creepy police procedural that delves into a cold case involving a murdered, pregnant mother of three and immerses you into the lives of the Bright family as they struggle to cope with their emotional fragility, economic instability, endless grief, and irrepressible desire for justice after the senseless loss of their matriarch.
The writing is descriptive, vivid, and chilling. The characters are desperate, tormented, and resourceful. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel quickly into a compelling investigative tale filled with life, loss, family, survival, heartbreak, misdirection, manipulation, violence, and murder.
Overall, Snap is an intelligent, atmospheric, exceptionally gripping novel that highlights once again Bauer's ability to create unique stories with a mood and tone that is tense, dark, and eerie without excessive violence or gore that still clearly remind us that even the most heinous of evil is often concealed behind masks of normality.
More than 1 year ago
Jack and his 2 sisters lose their pregnant mother to a killer. The last time they saw her, she left them in their broken down car and went to find a phone. She was never seen again. Nothing will ever be the same again ... for any of them.
Three years later Jack is in charge. Still living in their house, it's just the three of them. Their father has left and has never returned. Jack turns to robbing houses to make money enough to pay the few bills and keep food in the house. There is no such thing as school ... they are essentially living off the grid.
Catherine While wakes only to find a note saying "I could have killed you" weighted down by a knife she's never seen before. She's in her third trimester of pregnancy and her husband is out of town. Should she call him ... call the police? She hides the knife and decides to do nothing.
Jack, his sisters, Catherine, her husband, Adam, and the police .... all come to a crossroads. There are mistakes made, and several of them have secrets .... secrets that all have consequences should they be brought to light.
This is such an imaginative story, well-written, by a well known author. The characters are memorable and Jack, especially, will stay with you for a long, long time. A couple of characters demand to be mentioned ... one is the knife-maker, the other is the detective's mother. There is so much in the action-packed book, I didn't want to put it down for any reason. The ending was quite explosive, and while exciting, still a tad disappointing.
Many thanks to the author / Grove Atlantic / Netgalley / Edelweiss for the advanced digital copy of this riveting novel. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
More than 1 year ago
Unique, haunting…and bonkers. If I had to describe this book in a nutshell, that’s what comes to mind. And just so you know, I’m a big fan of bonkers.
Initially, it’s like you’re reading 2 books the are very different in subject matter & tone. The book blurb gives you a good breakdown of one of them. It’s the poignant story of Jack, Joy & Merry…3 young siblings abandoned by their parents. At 15, Jack is the man of the house & doing everything in his power to keep social services from discovering their squalid living conditions. But it’s exhausting. Jack spends his nights sneaking into empty houses & stealing what he can to keep his family going. That’s how he found the knife.
The other story line introduces DCI John Marvel. He’s a rumpled, dyspeptic old fashioned copper who’s been exiled to Somerset PD as a result of his less than PC techniques. Instead of high profile cases, he’s been given a rash of home burglaries to investigate. Seriously? Don’t they know he was an elite homicide detective? And don’t even get him started on his colleagues.
DS Reynolds is eager to make a good impression on his new boss. He’s a fastidious, impeccably groomed straight arrow who’s always willing to help coworkers better themselves. Whether it’s tips on deportment or correcting their grammar, he knows deep down they appreciate his attention to detail. So why does the new DCI seem to hate him?
For the first half of the book, the 2 story lines develop separately. There is a fair amount of jumping back & forth in time lines so you have to pay attention. The haunting sadness of Jack’s story is relieved by chapters detailing the police investigation & the humorous relationship between Marvel & Reynolds. Hint: it’s more Bickersons than bro-mance.
But the book really takes off when Jack meets Marvel. Jack believes he knows who murdered his mother 3 years ago & the old cop is just the man to prove it. And Marvel…well, the boy certainly spins a wild tale but how can he resist the chance to work a nice, juicy unsolved murder?
From here on, the book takes off in a dozen crazy directions as Marvel & Reynolds pick away at Jack’s story. Initially Marvel comes across as a self important misanthrope & Reynolds is just plain irritating. But a funny thing happened as I kept reading. I started to really like them. They’re both so odd & their relationship so entertaining that I couldn’t help but buckle up & enjoy this quirky ride.
Confession time: I’ve only read one previous book by this author & it was just a so-so read for me. It was not a question of writing skills…she has those in spades. But humour is (excuse the pun) a funny thing. Of all the story elements or genres, I think it might be the most subjective. What’s hilarious to one reader may make another longingly eye the last chapter.
All I can say is this book made me a convert. Marvel & Reynolds provided the comic relief I needed while Jack broke my heart. Each of the characters gradually reveals hidden depths as we spend more time in their company. You’ll find yourself rooting for this strange trio of lost souls as they piece together the truth behind what happened to Jack’s family. It’s poignant, unconventional & entertaining. Can’t ask for much more than that.
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