Today it’s my stop on the blog tour for this brilliant new release from C.L. Taylor! Read on to see what I thought – and read a sneaky extract too!
Title: The Fear
Author: C.L. Taylor
Publisher: Avon Books
Lou Smith is used to being headline news as, aged seventeen, she ran away with her 37-year-old teacher, Mike, during a short-lived affair.
Now 32, Lou’s life is in tatters – and she resolves to return home to confront Mike for the damage he has caused. But she soon finds that Mike is unchanged, and is now grooming a young 15-year-old girl called Chloe.
Determined to make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself, Lou decides to take matters into her own hands. But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as she tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that Lou could once again become his prey…
She yanks at the ceramic pot holding an ornamental cherry tree but it’s too heavy to lift with one hand. She bends her knees and pushes at the lid of the pot whilst simultaneously reaching down to steady the bottom with her other hand, but the weight of the tree is too great and the pot slips from her grasp. The tree bashes into the hedge, bounces off it and then crashes to the ground, taking out several pots before it lies still. Wendy clamps her hands to her ears, then ducks down low, as a shadow appears in one of the upstairs rooms in the house next door.
Her heart thunders in her chest. What should she do? Run back to the car? Hide under the hedge? She places a hand on the cold ground, preparing to run, and then she sees it – a silver Yale key lying beside one of the smashed pots. She inches forward, snatches it up, then, keeping low, heads for the hedge. She presses her back up against it, hands quivering against the smooth leaves and sharp twigs and waits.
I was completely gripped by this story of revenge and fear! It provokes a mix of emotions, from anger to fear to disgust (when you read more about Mike, you’ll probably feel all these too), all taking place against a worryingly ‘normal’ backdrop – and I was completely sucked in!
The characters in this novel really drew me in – I cared about main character Lou and the elements taken from her diary make you see what it’s like to be an unhappy child with a seemingly less-than-loving family, and how worryingly easy it is for older men to prey on these kinds of teenagers. It really makes you think about this, and though it’s not a pleasant topic, it is very interesting to read about. When Lou realises Mike, having been released from prison years ago, is grooming another young girl, she vows to stop him – and ends up taking things a lot further than planned! I also really liked Wendy, despite her many faults, and felt that her inclusion in the story was brilliant as it takes the reader away from just focusing on the victim and offender – there are so many other people affected by this kind of crime too, and Wendy made for a very interesting character to read about!
I loved that C.L. Taylor writes in a way that makes you completely get how things can so easily spiral out of control – both for Lou as she confronts Mike and for poor confused Chloe, and in fact everyone around them (including family and friends) as they fail to recognise the importance of what is going on right under their noses. The story is written in such a way that you think you know exactly where it’s going… but you really don’t!
I raced through The Fear and would definitely recommend it as a gripping read which is as much about the characters’ struggles as it is about action itself – a truly thrilling read with an added layer of substance!
Many thanks to Avon Books for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review, and for inviting me onto the blog tour!