Do you ever wonder dear reader, what secrets are just waiting to be discovered in the dark depths of the caves that dominate our coastline? Perhaps treasure, gold and diamonds as big as our head. Or maybe, just maybe they conceal something far more disturbing…something more horrific than we could possibly imagine.
Today I am on the blog tour for Life Ruins (Published 25th July 2019) By Danuta Kot. A big thank you to the publishers Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy to review always appreciated. And as always to the lovely Anne for the invite. Thank you!
About The Author
Danuta Kot grew up with stories. Her Irish mother and her Polish father kept their own cultures alive with traditional tales they shared with their children. For many years, she worked with young people in Yorkshire who were growing up in the aftermath of sudden industrial decline. She uses this background in her books to explore some of the issues that confront modern, urban society: poverty, alienation and social breakdown, using the contexts of the modern crime novel. She has previously written under the names, Danuta Reah and Carla Banks. Danuta was also a former chair of the Crime Writers’ Association. She now works as a senior education consultant, work that involves travel to establish education and training in other parts of the world. She is a regular academic speaker at conferences and literary festivals, and has appeared on radio and television.
How can you save someone else… when you can’t even save yourself?
A body, briefly glimpsed at the bottom of an abandoned mineshaft, vanishes when the police investigate. Jared, recovering from an almost fatal injury and addicted to painkillers, knows he saw something terrible in that mine… but he has no evidence, and fears he’s losing his grip on reality.
A girl is attacked so savagely she can’t be identified, and dumped late at night in an isolated campground. She’s alive, but only just. Becca, tossed out of university and just let go from her dead-end job, is certain she knows who the victim is. But no one will believe her, and she can hardly even trust herself.
Kay, recently widowed and coming to terms with life on her own, suddenly finds herself forced to get involved. For years she and her husband fostered difficult children – including Becca, whom trouble follows like a stray puppy. And now Becca seems to be in the worst trouble of her life.
And then Jared and Becca meet. Becca, strong-minded and fiercely independent, is confident they can figure out what’s
going on. She pulls Kay into the mix, knowing they’ll need all the
help they can get… because the police don’t believe them. And more girls are vanishing.
Separately, Kay, Becca and Jared believe their lives have hit rock bottom. But drawn together under extraordinary circumstances, they’ll discover the strength to fight back… and ultimately rebuild their lives from the ruins.
I didn’t know what to expect from this book, the blurb had me intrigued and the further I ventured, the more I got sucked in. I followed willingly the echos of a sad whistling tune of whiskey and love before quickly finding myself in a bit of a tight spot. Kot effortflesslsy sets the scene the moment you start reading. You are instantly cast ashore a ghostly grey beach alongside a dead body. It’s chilling but you can’t help but want to read on and find out why young girls are going missing. You soon find the haunting backdrop of the Yorkshire landscape bewitching as it relaxes under your skin and sets up camp.
“The sea beyond the harbour wall was grey and restless. Sea should be blue with little waves and kids playing in the water and stuff like that. This sea looked like something that would drown you and then spit you out again.”
Kot traps the reader in the story, making them feel claustrophobic and uneasy. We are kept in suspense as just when we feel safe…BANG! We hear gunshots off in the distance. There is rarely a dull moment in this book as Kot doesn’t allow the reader to catch breath for long and you can’t help but be full of suspicion and paranoia with every character you encounter. It’s definitely one of those reads that will keep you guessing and guessing until the big reveal that makes you go “Ohhhh! Now that makes senses!”
“The chill of the rock was drawing him back, the struggle and stop, struggle and stop as the passage narrowed and narrowed again…”
What’s interesting about the narrative is that it follows three extremely different characters. Becca has always had a troubled past with a long list of broken fostering behind her. She has a temper that she struggles to control and allows it to take over the second she gets annoyed. Then there’s Kay, a sweet old lady who used to foster kids for years, Becca being included in that. And last but not least there’s Jared, a thrill seeking adrenaline junkie that has to pop a couple of painkillers to mask his weakness. Three different characters that somehow work perfectly together as their paths cross.
“Seabirds screamed in the sky above them. When Becca had finished she scattered her remaining chips on the ground and the birds came down and fought over them, tugging the chips between them and flapping up into the air, squabbling over the paper.”
The themes of troubled youth and their vulnerability runs riot within these pages. Kot has captured the loneliness, peer pressure and unknown dangers that they still battle today silently. We need to be more aware of this, and do something. It’s eye-opening how often these things occur and are treated as the norm by the younger generation. It’s shocking.
“The sad truth was there were too many candidates in the Bridlington area to be the victim of this particular crime. Too many vulnerable girls. Violence was inevitable if you had a policy of flooding the poorer coastal towns with the troubled, the homeless and the dispossessed.
If you populate an area with prey, the predators will not be far behind.”
I give Life Ruins By Danuta Kot a Four out of Five paw rating.
This book has dark, disturbing themes that make you paranoid beyond belief. You very rarely stand still and keep looking over your shoulder, it was an intense reading experience, never knowing what was around one of the caravans. I loved it and was on tenterhooks right until the very end. Just wonderful writing!
Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, dates below! Enjoy!
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