When a young woman is brutally attacked on her way home from the local supermarket, checkout girl Bea is determined to find out who’s responsible. She enlists the help of Ant, the seemingly gormless new trainee – but can she really trust him? Customers and colleagues become suspects, secrets are uncovered, and while fear stalks the town, Bea risks losing the people she loves most.
I am so excited to be taking part in a blog tour for this book! A huge thank you to Sandstone Press for providing me with a copy of the book and all the materials needed for the tour!
I did enjoy this book but it wasn’t as exciting as I was expecting it to be. I thought it was a crime thriller but it’s more of a contemporary in my opinion. It was a nice relaxing read and something I looked forward to reading on my breaks at work. I took my time reading it because I didn’t feel the need to rush through it like most crime thrillers. I wasn’t in any rush to get to the end and was just enjoying the pacing of it.
In terms of the plot, I’ll be honest and say it didn’t feel like a lot was really happening. Bea’s “investigating” turns out to be just a list of suspects who don’t have alibis for the nights of the attacks. She doesn’t do much sleuthing as I first thought she would when I read the synopsis. I’d say this was definitely more of a contemporary than a crime thriller because only two girls are attacked and pretty much the whole book is Bea going to and from work. Nothing else exciting really happens. Bea was really annoying at times and being so ridiculous. I get that she hates not feeling safe on the streets but she does stupid things to prove a point. She deliberately walks alone at night even though she knows there is an attacker on the loose. How stupid can you get? There’s being stubborn and then there’s that. Better to be safe than to try and act like you’re tough. Acting like that can get you killed is all I’m saying. She also has a love interest but he’s not a very nice person and in the end I really didn’t see what the point of his character was? I just didn’t see why he was even in it because he literally contributed nothing to the story.
I liked Ant who is supposed to be the “gormless new trainee” but he was actually a really decent guy. He made me laugh quite a bit and I loved the friendship between him and Bea. He was a very interesting character and I think he has a lot of potential for future books. Another character was Dot who is Bea’s work buddy and she’s quite a bit older. She is about fifty eight I think but she is such a lovely character. I loved how close her and Bea were and couldn’t get enough of her character.
I loved the relationship between Bea and her mum because it sheds a light on mental illness. Bea’s mum is terrified of leaving the house and seems to also have really bad anxiety. It highlights the struggles families go through and the money problems people have. It also shows that not everyone understands mental illness and because you can’t physically see it, they think it doesn’t exist. It’s very sad and I think it was portrayed well in this book. It also touches upon abusive relationships but it doesn’t really resolve it by the end which frustrated me. I hate not being able to see abusive relationships come to an end.
What I really liked about this book was how it focused on the every day work life. We got to see Bea working in a supermarket chatting to regular customers. It was all very relatable to me because I’ve worked in retail for the past three years. I loved seeing this big work family all planning charity events. It’s funny because at one point they put a gym bike at the front of the store and all jump on it to raise money for charity. This is exactly what my store did this year to raise money for charity! It was so funny seeing fictional characters struggle through it like I did!
The big reveal at the end felt very random and it didn’t even make much sense to me. It felt like all the suspects were put in a hat and a name was drawn out at random then the attacks were twisted to fit that character. The attacker didn’t really have much of a motive and when it all came out I wasn’t shocked or impressed. It just felt very flat to me. I think it could have been done better because I just didn’t understand why this person was chosen as the attacker.
Overall I did enjoy this book but the ending could have been better. I just felt disappointed when I found out who the attacker was because to me it should have been someone else. I get that they didn’t want to make it obvious who the attacker was so they chose the least likely person but it just didn’t work for me. If you like contemporaries I would definitely give this a read because it’s a nice little book but as a crime thriller it didn’t work for me.
About the author:
Rachel Ward is a best-selling writer for young adults. Her first book, Numbers, was published in 2009 and shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. An avid reader of detective fiction, The Cost of Living is her first book for adults. Rachel lives in Bath with her husband, and has two grown-up children.