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by Claire Seeber
Avon, April 2010
384 pages
6.99 GBP
ISBN: 0007334672

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Rose Miller seems to have it all three kids, a husband rolling in money and a gorgeous house in the Cotswolds. But she's also got a past she'd rather not have unearthed. And hey, this is one those psychological thrillers, so we all know that's bound to happen.

The happenings in NEVER TELL stem from the secretive Society X, which Rose and James then her sort of boyfriend and now her husband belonged to while they were at Oxford University. This elite (oh, OK, read over-privileged brats drinking themselves legless and sacrificing the odd goat) band was led by Dalziel, the kind of character for whom the word enigmatic is routinely employed (but instead, read over-privileged idiot . . .) And, as you might guess, things didn't end well for the decadent bunch.

Rose has put her career as an investigative journalist on hold and is now doing the odd bit of work on the local paper flower shows and award-winning vegetables while James flounces around a lot and opens the occasional nightclub. But then she's asked to do a profile of a Middle Eastern businessman who has moved to the area. He's got a mysterious son and a daughter and a load of heavies hanging around. Rose's questions stir up things in the present and also unravel the secrets in her past.

NEVER TELL is an odd sort of book. The main problem is that the pacing seems off the plot idea is fine, but there's not enough tension and the flashbacks seem to kick in at the wrong moment. There are also some weird things happening with tenses.

It's interesting to have a cast of flawed characters and a less than perfect lead character. That's OK, as I don't like mine too saintly. But the snag was that I didn't really care enough about them. Rose is a drip and doormat it's beyond me why a supposedly strong and independent woman would put up with a husband who would be greatly improved by a foot connecting hard with his arse. And she isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer either and that's problematic if we're to believe she's an award-winning hot-shot journalist who was almost sued by the South African government and put herself in danger with Los Angeles gangs.

I didn't believe it. And that's because Seeber presents us with all tell and no show. I'm also a tad worried about the accuracy of some of the supposed newspaper pieces she presents us with.

This isn't a bad book by any means and I'd keep an eye open for Seeber in future. It kept me reading over the course of a few days and it certainly compares favourably with the likes of Sophie Hannah. But it's heavy on an over-privileged woman going gooey-eyed over her kiddies and light on menace and tension.

Sharon Wheeler is a UK-based journalist, writer and lecturer.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, July 2010

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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