This book is the first novel I’ve read in some time and the author’s debut into adult fiction. Ultimately, it’s about a death and the three women, Mags, Mira and Jody, involved with the deceased, Abe.
Tattletale, by Sarah Naughton, tells how they each see the scenario unfold, although mainly it’s through the eyes of Abe’s sister, Mags, who emerges from the past after over a decade of estrangement. The fact that she’s an American lawyer and wants to blame someone (anyone) for what is an apparent suicide or accidental death is the driving force behind the tale.
The wonderful setting of a historical church in outer London, converted into a four-storey apartment block for those who are a little bit disadvantaged, adds a whole other dimension to the tale in itself. This is where Abe lived on the fourth floor. The characters that reside here, including Mira, spice the story as well and constantly keep you wondering as to who might be involved. As Mags probes relentlessly looking for answers she uncovers more than she, or the reader, have bargained for. She stumbles down one blind alley (literally, in one case) after another as she comes to grips with the other personalities involved in her brother’s life.
The pursuit also forces Mags to look inwardly at her life and to come to terms with who she’s become and why she has evolved into someone less caring and loving than she might like. However, Jody, Abe’s fiance has also had a tough time of life so far. It’s actually a miracle she’s gotten this far in her confused, downtrodden and submissive state. That she knows more than she’s game to say becomes more and more apparent although the story is deflected away from her midstream before swinging back towards the end.
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Most of the residents of the church are ill-at-ease in the outside world and an aggressive bunch of youths that hang around constantly do little to calm their nerves.
The final chapters are a surprise, going down a path you won’t expect and leaving you to wonder if it is, sometimes, alright to lie. They do say that “the end justifies the means” after all, don’t they?
An enjoyable pulsating read and not the last from this author I suspect.
Tattletale, by Sarah J. Naughton, is available in hardback, paperback and digital formats from the publisher Hachette Australia. Click here for details.