The neighbour is found dead in a bathtub. 11 year old Max and his dad (Alex) are the ones to find him. Millicent (the mum) seems particularly jumpy and upset by what has happened, and for some reason the police want to question her. It turns out Millicent wasn’t being honest and knew her neighbour more than she let on.
I really liked the character of Max. He seems smart and mature at times, but at other times he shows his innocence. He takes in a lot of what is going on around him and surprises the reader with his understanding of the world. He’s a stark reminder that you shape your children unintentionally and they never stop learning from you. I struggled to like Millicent at all; I’m sure this was deliberate. She was distant and uptight but still seemed to be controlled. I think I was meant to like Alex but couldn’t. He was a very passive person and that frustrated me. Alex and Millicent seemed like normal parents; generally trying their best but sometimes struggling to be the perfect role models. Ben McPherson did well to make flawed characters without them being irritating.
I did guess the ending before it was revealed, but it was a well crafted conclusion. You are led to suspect a few options but never anything too off-field that wasn’t in keeping with the story.
Ben has done a great job of exploring family relationships when put under strain.
This book is published in America on the 29th of September 2015.
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I received this book as a member of the reader review panel on Lovereading.co.uk. See more reviews here A Line of Blood