Thursday, 31 March 2016

After Anna by Alex Lake

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last review and I’ve barely read anything in that time. Starting a new job and generally having a bit of a reading slump have contributed to my blogging inactivity but this psychological thriller was just what I needed to kick start my reading habits again. 

After Anna by Alex Lake is a No.1 ebook bestseller that starts with the disappearance of five year old Anna Crowne. Her mother Julia, a busy lawyer, is late to pick her up from school one day and by the time she gets to the school, Anna has disappeared. 

With her marriage on the rocks already and a formidable mother-in-law to contend with, Julia is put under major torment as she worries over the disappearance of her daughter, faces family fights over the consequences and is ripped apart by the national press and on social media. 

The first half of the story explores the events surrounding the sudden disappearance of Anna. Then a week later, just as unexpectedly, Anna turns up safe and sound with no memory of where she was has been. Julia is of course delighted to have her daughter back, but though that particular trial is over, she has no idea of the new battle she is about to face. 

We mostly see things from Julia’s angle and although admittedly, I didn’t feel that she was a particularly likable character; the ordeals that she goes through will strike a chord with many people and she is central to all of the action that occurs. What I really liked that was occasionally there is a passage from the abductor’s point of view which gave the story great sinister undertones adding to an already suspenseful story. 

I have to admit that whilst reading, I thought that I had it all figured out and then the last third of the book completely had me guessing and racing on to the end. The premise of the story is easy to follow, and child abduction is a harrowing enough topic along with marital issues and crime thrown in to keep you engaged. The attack on Julia as a mother and human being in the press and on social media was a clever inclusion as it is so relevant to recent times and added more uproar to the story. 

The way all the themes are incorporated was simple yet effective at being mysterious and thrilling. After Anna is a tense and exciting psychological thriller and it soon becomes clear why this is a bestseller.  

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