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It Ends At Midnight by Harriet Tyce - Review

Sunday, April 2, 2023

After I enjoyed Blood Orange so much I thought I would like to read something else by Harriet Tyce, so I requested this at the library and picked it up mid March. I thought it would take me a while to read but instead I raced through it in about 48 hours. It is, like Blood Orange, incredibly compelling. It again has a lawyer as the main character, although there isn't as much law as in Blood Orange. Plenty of the characters are incredibly unlikeable, again including the main character. I like this in books because I just never know what to think - it's a brilliant way to slip in a lot of red herrings and make the reader doubt everybody.

So, Sylvie is a lawyer who has ambitions to become a Crown Court judge. She is currently presiding over the trial of three young boys who are accused of robbing another boy at knifepoint. She has a friend from school, Tess, and is also friends with her husband, Marcus. However, the two have split up - Marcus has left. Sylvie is a bit full of her own problems when Tess tells her that she's got a brain tumour and it might be cancerous. She wants Sylvie to tell Marcus on her behalf. And she also starts talking about Linda. 

Parts of the book are flashbacks to when Sylvie and Tess were growing up together in Edinburgh, when Sylvie was going out with Stewart, who turned out to be an absolute shit. He got off with Linda at one point, and she ended up in prison for some reason, and Sylvie and Tess lied about something which helped her get convicted. Sylvie wants to leave the whole thing behind, but as Tess is convinced she's dying and wants to make things right with Linda.

Meanwhile, Sylvie is seeing a man called Gareth who still lives in Edinburgh. He is a caterer and she met him at a conference about six months previously. She is excited to tell Tess about him, but this is when Tess drops the bombshell about the brain tumour. Tess isn't that great of a friend, which runs deep. Gareth seems like a nice enough person. Tess becomes obsessed with planning a renewal of her vows with Marcus, but Marcus has his doubts that she's even really ill, as it turned out she lied about something before too. 

There's also parts of the book which detail two bodies being found impaled on railings outside a posh house in Edinburgh on New Year's Day, but it's not obvious who the victims are and exactly what has happened. I did guess a couple of the twists but I found the book really compelling. I'm giving it four out of five. 

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