Written by Ali Knight –- Last autumn, Ali Knight made her crime fiction debut with Wink Murder, a psychological thriller that earned her The Independent Best Commercial Read 2011. Now she’s back with her second novel – The First Cut.
Whilst on holiday with friends, Nicky’s best friend Grace is murdered and dumped in a lake, only for Nicky to come across the body whilst taking a midnight swim. Five years later we find that Nicky sought solace with Greg, Grace’s widower. Nicky and Greg are trying to get on with their lives but Grace’s death still hangs over them and Greg’s job often sees him travelling abroad, leaving Nicky alone.
Struggling with her marriage difficulties Nicky meets Adam on a flight home from Barcelona. Adam is young, tall, handsome and, most importantly, interested. Nicky and Adam spend the duration of a flight talking and flirting but soon part ways once they arrive back in London – Nicky heads to the car park and Adam to the train station. However, this isn’t the last we see of Adam. He soon turns up at Nicky’s place of work claiming to have information about his grandmother that would be of interest to Nicky, as an obituary writer. Nicky puts her trust in Adam and agrees to go to his country estate to help him find information about his grandmother. Once there, the innocent flirtation soon turns dangerous when Nicky’s car tire is slashed and she is held hostage by Adam. It soon becomes clear that Adam is keeping something from Nicky, something involving her husband Greg and what happened to Grace all those years ago.
Nicky is determined to find answers, but this only leads her to have more questions when whilst questioning Greg’s sister Liz, she discovers that Greg’s ex-girlfriend also died in suspicious circumstances. Can Nicky uncover the secret behind Grace’s murder and the connection between Greg and Adam? Is she next on the list to lose her life?
Just to add extra tension to the plotting, Nicky is being tracked by Troy, a contract killer – and she’s his next target. How does he fit into all of this? Well, the two strands are drawn together towards the end, though they can at times be confusing. However, I still enjoyed this element of the book as it kept the guilty/innocent edge alive for the characters. This novel is a real page turner, I even found myself reading it whilst eating dinner!
This thriller will have you on the edge of your seat desperate to read more. Perfect for fans of James Patterson, this is a classic suspense crime thriller that leads the reader to question who is behind Grace’s murder. The best part of this book is definitely the mystery element and I, for one, was left wondering right up until the end who might be behind it all. I can honestly say that I was left completely shocked with the twist at the end. A great new novel from a promising new writer.
Hodder & Stoughton
CFL Rating: 4 Stars