Belinda Bauer is a household name in the realm of crime fiction, so I was delighted to have the opportunity to read her latest novel, Snap.
Jack’s in charge, said his mother as she disappeared up the road to get help. I won’t be long. Now eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters wait on the hard shoulder in their stifling, broken-down car, bickering and whining and playing I-Spy until she comes back.
But their mother doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And after that long, hot summer’s day, nothing will ever be the same again.
Three years later, Jack’s fifteen now and still in charge . . . alone in the house. Meanwhile across town, a young woman called Catherine While wakes to find a knife beside her bed, and a note reading I could of killed you. The police are tracking a mysterious burglar they call Goldilocks, for his habit of sleeping in the beds of the houses he robs, but Catherine doesn’t see the point of involving the police. And Jack, very suddenly, may be on the verge of finding out who killed his mother.
A twisty, masterfully written novel that will have readers on the edge of their seats, Snap is Belinda Bauer at the height of her powers.
Snap is the tale of a teenage boy desperately searching for his mother’s killer. I really enjoyed this novel, but it did take me some time to settle into the flow of it. To begin with, there are three storylines at play, and like with most books containing multiple storylines, you know the they are connected, you just don’t know how.
From the off-set, I loved Jack’s storyline, his endless search for his mother’s killer, and the role he took on in providing for his younger siblings. I was invested in Jack’s plight from the very beginning, and found him a very likeable character. Through it all you could feel his pain at losing his mother so unexpectedly, and seeing him take on the role of provider and protector makes your heart warm to him. His younger sibling, Merry, was a great character also, bringing the endearing entertainment (witty replies) that could only be delivered by a young child. Joy, Jacks other sister, was also a very interesting character and there was so much scope to explore her character in more depth, and I wish we had a little bit more of it on display, however, what we did see of her, and Merry, showed again what Jack was coping with, and again, warming your heart towards him.
Catherine, on the other hand, was a character I rolled my eyes at several times, and it took me sometime to settle into her storyline. Also, the storyline of DCI Marvel, new to town and ready to solve the case. All three storylines were very separate, so there was no confusion between them, but the switching between them in the first half of the novel just didn’t read as fluidly as I’d have liked; but, the second half of this novel read much more fluidly and had me gripped – the more the storylines merged into one, the more my enjoyment increased.
By the time I reached the end of this novel, I really came to love it, largely in part due to Jack; but, I also really liked the unconventional way this mystery played out and was solved. While the ending left many questions unanswered, I thought it was perfectly fitting, however, those that like every question to be answered would likely be wishing there was one more paragraph.
With its vivid characters, Snap is a unique and quirky read that addresses themes of loss and family loyalty in the search for a killer. Jack’s haunting sadness, his fight for survival and his determination to find his mother’s killer… basically Jack’s character was brilliant in every way. I have absolutely no reservations recommending this novel, and if you do find it a bit disjointed in the beginning, stick with it, it’s worth it!