Review – The Accident by CL Taylor

By | April 5, 2014

Sue Jackson has the perfect family but when her teenage daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma she is forced to face a very dark reality.

Retracing her daughter’s steps she finds a horrifying entry in Charlotte’s diary and is forced to head deep into Charlotte’s private world. In her hunt for evidence, Sue begins to mistrust everyone close to her daughter and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past.

Sue will do anything to protect her daughter. But what if she is the reason that Charlotte is in danger?

There are so many wonderful psychological thrillers around at the moment – for anyone who doesn’t read much in this genre, do try Paula Daly’s Just What Kind Of Mother Are You?, Elizabeth Haynes’ Into The Darkest Corner, Elizabeth Forbes’ Nearest Thing To Crazy or MJ Arlidge’s Eeny Meeny.  And here’s another – CL Taylor’s The Accident sits more than comfortably with that illustrious company.  There are times when reading can just be reading, but this was one of those books that had me reading into the early hours, and when I wasn’t reading it was constantly in my thoughts.

Very cleverly constructed, the book alternates between Sue’s present life – the wife of an MP, mother in a nursing home, now coping with her daughter in a coma having apparently stepped in front of a bus – and her life when she was younger. She investigates her daughter’s life to try and find out how and why it happened, and it turns out to be the kind of secret life every mother would dread uncovering. The clever part is that we know Sue has had mental issues – we’re never entirely sure, seeing everything through Sue’s eyes, whether what we’re seeing is entirely real or Sue’s interpretation of the truth, coloured by her earlier experiences. 

I love an unreliable narrator, and this is so well handled – her younger life, though, is told through diary entries so we know it’s a reliable account, and we also know (and fear and dread) that past and present are bound to collide at some point.  There is real evil in these pages, convincingly drawn, and there were parts I found quite terrifying.  But there’s lightness and some humour too – this book is so well written, totally gripping, and highly recommended. 

The Accident will be published on 10th April in Kindle and paperback formats by Avon Books.  My thanks to netgalley and the publishers for my advance reading e-copy. At the time of writing, it’s available for Kindle on pre-order for 99p via Amazon UK.

C.L. Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and young son. She started writing fiction in 2005 and her short stories have won several awards and been published by a variety of literary and women’s magazines. Cally works in Higher Education and has a degree in Psychology, with particular interest in abnormal and criminal Psychology. She also loves knitting, Dr Who, Sherlock, Great British Bake Off and Margaret Atwood and blames Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected for her love of a dark tale. 

Her international bestselling romantic comedies (written as Cally Taylor), Heaven Can Wait and Home For Christmas were both published by Orion in the UK, and have been translated into 14 different languages.