Rebecca McCormick. Powered by Blogger.

The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish - Review

Saturday, April 4, 2020

I requested this on Netgalley and was kindly granted permission to read it by Simon & Schuster, so thank you to them. I was provided with an electronic copy of the book for review purposes, but was not otherwise compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I really enjoyed Our House by Candlish, so was eager to read something else by her. I liked the twists and turns so assumed this novel would be similar. There's a similarity in social class, which I kind of liked - I like reading about posh people getting into trouble.

So the book is about Jamie, who is forty-eight, and who lives with his partner Clare. She owns a very beautiful huge house in east London and is a partner in an estate agents. Jamie had a white collar job but after an incident of claustrophobia on the tube lost his job and took one in a cafe.

The book starts just after Christmas in 2019. Jamie is going to work and so gets on the river bus from his house into central London. As he disembarks, two policemen meet him. They tell him that his friend Kit has gone missing, and as he was the last person to see Kit on the 23rd of December, after a night out drinking, he is obviously an important part of their investigation. He goes with them for an informal chat in a cafe, and through flashbacks we get to know the whole story.

Clare's work had employed Melia just before the previous Christmas, and Clare invited Melia and Kit over for dinner in the January. They're both just about thirty and are working in jobs they seem to believe beneath them and are in lots of debt. Kit and Jamie decide to start getting the river bus together, and on there meet another guy, Steve, and a woman, Gretchen. Throughout the year, Jamie and Clare and Kit and Melia become friends, although there's always a tension between them. Kit in particular is jealous of Clare and Jamie's house, lives, wealth. He is spiralling into cocaine use and getting more and more into debt.

Jamie tells the police all he knows, and the beginning part of the story takes up half the book. I wasn't sure exactly where it would go then, but it raced through the second half. As I had read Our House, I was expecting some twists, and I did see some of them coming, but I also fell for a couple of red herrings, and some bits blindsided me totally. I did feel like there were some bits that stretched the realm of possibility, but I was willing to go with it because I liked the story so much. It's very deftly woven together, and almost no one comes out of it well.

I can't say I really liked Jamie, but I did sympathise with him. I didn't like Kit or Melia and found them irritating, which I think is part of the point. I wish we'd seen a bit more of Clare and understood a bit better what had kept her and Jamie together for ten years prior to the book. I do think Candlish is good at throwing bright light on bad parts of every human, and I like that.

I'm giving the book four out of five.

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