One fatal crash. Two colliding worlds. Three wrecked lives.
School teacher Ben is driving on the motorway, on his usual commute to work.
A day like any other…
Except for one man who, in a final despairing act, jumps in front of Ben’s car, turning the teacher’s world upside down in a single horrifying instant…
Wracked with guilt and desperate to clear his conscience, he develops a friendship with Alice, the dead man’s wife, and her 7-year-old son Max.
But as he tries to escape the trauma of the wreckage, could he go too far in trying to make amends?
How would you cope, knowing you’d caused someone’s death?
The Wreckage is a solid psychological thriller and a brilliant debut novel. In fact, The Wreckage didn’t feel like a debut novel at all and I don’t know why I didn’t pick it up sooner. Well actually I do know a little, see when I have read an author already I know in advance how much I’ll probably like it but with a new author the fear of the unknown sometimes works against me. I’m happy to confirm that it worked out really really well this time.
The writing was addictive and very easy to read. The novel opens with a horrific event for Ben when someone jumps in front of his car. It was raining so he certainly wasn’t driving fast and yet it happened in a few seconds. He feels very guilty and he visits the comatose man in the hospital where he meets his wife Alice and their son Max. It all feels genuinely nice and Ben is just concerned but then it starts to feel somewhat stalkerish. There are limits in wanting to make amends right? Well Ben didn’t seem to get the memo! I started to feel quite uncomfortable about the whole situation (which I mean in the bestest of ways) although Ben never actually does anything wrong. So he remembered Max’ birthday and he wants to buy him presents and he happens to be in the shop at the same time and find Max wandering around. He’s concerned that Alice doesn’t take care of him like she should then, it’s a normal reaction, right? Right? Hmm I don’t know but I wanted him far away from Alice and Max, yet he seems unstoppable to want to help them, to want to be in their lives.
The author includes a whopper of a twist in the final part of the novel. I did not expect this at all so I had to mull it over in my own head how believable it felt and if this made a difference and could make me change my opinion of Ben. The idea is indeed a little out there, yet I still embraced it because it worked so well in the story and honestly, I read this book about two weeks ago and it still plays on my mind now so the fact that it dumbfounded me is exactly why it is one of those memorable plotlines that will last in my mind for all eternity. I loved that the author misled me and did it so perfectly. I honestly also do love it when an author can make you see someone in another light all of a sudden. This happened here slightly but it’s not as if Ben suddenly turned into my favorite character either as too much water had passed under the bridge already. In the end I felt there were no winners at all.
I love novels about obsession and the lengths people would go for the love of their lives. I thought I knew where this story was going too but I was wrong, which I loved! I can’t wait to read another of his novels and see what else he has in store.
The Wreckage is perfect for fans of His&Hers by Alice Feeney, or The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton.
I received a free (and signed!) paperback copy from the author as a winner of a giveaway. This is my honest opinion.