Ella is campaigning to stop developers knocking down a block of flats. Most residents have been evicted, but a few still remain, clinging onto the hope they can save their homes from destruction. Molly is one of the residents and a very close friend of Ella’s. One night, after a party hosted by Ella, a man dies in one of the abandoned flats, and the friends are left with an awful secret.
The reader learns of the story as told in alternating chapters between the friends. It bounces from before, during and after the party to gradually give more and more detail of the crime. Molly and Ella seem the closest of friends, but can they keep it together with such a huge secret to protect?
I really enjoyed Molly’s chapters over Ella’s. She is a strong, supportive and fiercely loyal friend to Ella. She brings a wisdom to the book that Ella lacks, and is determined to stay true to herself. Ella will always stand up for what she believes in, but I felt she had less depth than Molly. I found a few of the male characters in the book particularly unlikable in contrast, and un-named members of the police force are also not portrayed in the best light.
The other characters from the building, in contrast, have made the place feel like a family home. Callum the ex army chef, and Derek who cares for his wife Jenny while she recovers from a stroke, both bring a sense of warmth and belonging in such a bleak setting of an abandoned tower block. It’s a strange group of people left, who wouldn’t normally socialise in ordinary circumstances, but fighting for their homes has pulled them together to support each other.
As the story seems to settle and it feels as though you understand it all, the lies start creeping in. Not all the characters are trustworthy, their intentions are not as they first seem, and the truth begins unravelling very quickly. Who is the dead man? Why did he die? What else are they hiding? Ella and Molly’s friendship is tested to the limit as the truth begins to reveal itself. A great psychological thriller to start the year with!
This Is How It Ends is published on the 25th of January
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