Book Review: He Said / She Said by Erin Kelly
In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack.
She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim's life that is changed forever.
Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.
And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something - and someone - is always in the dark...
Published April 20th 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton
There is so much I want to say about this book - the themes it raises and the twists it takes make it perfect for long discussion. However, I also don't want to give anything away - because this book completely took a turn I wasn't expecting, coming like a bolt from the blue and leaving me slack jawed in disbelief and how-the-hell-did-I not-see-that-coming astonishment. I wouldn't want to spoil that for anyone.
He Said / She Said begins with Laura and Kit, as in the blossoming stages of a new romance, they go to Cornwall to watch the Eclipse. Immediately Erin Kelly creates a feeling of intensity, enhanced by the atmospheric, heady environment and the phenomenon itself. I remember both Eclipses (1999 and 2015) which provide the back drop for this story, and while something that was only mildly interesting to me at the time, found it a fascinating and original driver for this book, being both beautiful and menacing, peaceful and dangerous in equal measures, with a different perspective depending on the place or angle you see it from.
This book tackles the extremely sensitive subject of sexual assault and both the attack itself and the following court case are traumatic, uncomfortable and shocking. It switches between what happened during the trial and its aftermath, and the present where Kit and Laura are in hiding, clearly traumatised and terrified. But what led them to this position? Erin Kelly cleverly leads the reader on a merry dance, subtlety planting seeds of doubt into your subconscious before landing that lightening bolt twist to throw it all back up in the air.
I'm not sure I'd say this was a pacey and fast read, it's far more subtle and clever than that. It is gripping though, especially from around half way through when I found myself completely drawn into this eerie, twisted story of half-truths, obsession, power and fear and the resulting catastrophic consequences. If I had to be nit picky, then I'd say I was less interested in Kit's present day chapters earlier on as they went into a bit more detail and science behind the Eclipse chaser aspect. Overall though, I'd say He Said / She Said is a sophisticated, thought provoking psychological thriller, which drips with atmospheric tension and bowls a twist to knock you over.
( I read an advanced ebook edition courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley)