It’s the perfect Sunday. Summer sunshine, a barbecue with the kids.
But a knock on the garden gate and two words, ‘HELP ME’, changes everything.
When loving parents Rob and Wendy Turner let a dying man into their home, and do their best to help him, they think pure chance led him to their house. But soon their lives are threatened in ways they could never have imagined … and then the first anonymous letter arrives, forcing them to question all they know.
Someone is watching.
Someone is waiting.
They will stop at nothing.
Rob and Wendy will do anything to keep their family safe, but their children Georgia, Josh and Evan are teenagers now, with their own hidden lives.
Everyone has secrets, but how can you save your family, if you don’t really know them?
Warning: If you suffer from high blood pressure, do not read this book!
A few months ago I read 'See How They Run' by Tom Bale and it was an excellent fast-paced thriller which I really enjoyed and from which I can still vividly recall many scenes. So when I was offered a review copy of his new book 'All Fall Down' from the publishers I didn't think twice to jump at the opportunity.
If you knew beforehand that helping someone in need would bring your own life in danger, would you still help that person?
An enjoyable family BBQ soon becomes a turning point in the lives of Rob and Wendy Turner and their three kids. As they're enjoying the afternoon sun in peace, a dying bloodied man stumbles through their back gate calling for help. He seems to have been brutally beaten and tortured and sports unusual horrific injuries. The shocked family calls for an ambulance but the poor man never makes it to hospital. Who was this man? From where did he come? Who has beat him to a pulp? And why did he choose their house to call for help?
"... this could be a warning."
Soon after this unfortunate accident, which has left all family members shocked and confused, strange things start to happen and even stranger individuals start to show up. Rob and Wendy realise that they're someone's target. Someone wants to frame them for the man's murder. But why? Who is behind this? Is this some sort of revenge for something one of them has done? But that's just the beginning of their ordeal. In a matter of days they will find themselves in a terrifying life-death situation. Will they come out of this alive? Blood will be spilled. That's for sure!
"But we don't have anything to hide, do we?"
This book is certainly not for the faint-hearted. The author has created the perfect flawed family setting. All characters are very realistic and well developed. The relationship between all family members is somewhat messy and complicated. The marriage is in difficulties, both parents hide secrets, there are skeletons in everyone's cupboard, a son who leads a secretive life and an adopted daughter with a terrible past.
"What's going to happen to us? How will it end?"
After a very dramatic opening, there are a number of chapters in which I thought the plot was a bit slow and I wasn't sure in which direction the story was heading. However halfway through the book the suspense graph suddenly rises at lightning speed and practically passes through the ceiling. Thanks to his exquisite writing, the author skilfully throws us in a terrifying claustrophobic scenario with no chance of escape. From then on it's just continuous adrenaline-pumping tension that never wavers. This is high tension on a completely different scale to other books. Imagine being chased by a hungry lion and feeling its breath on your backside - that equates the sort of tension I experienced reading this book. I was just glad it's fiction!
By the end, I thought the author was going to leave one end loose, but he surprised me by expertly adding a few more chapters in which he tied that loose end in a very satisfactory (albeit horrific) way.
Brimful with secrets, mysteries, suspicious well-fleshed characters, twists and turns, heart-pumping tension together in a cleverly weaved plot, this is an absolutely fantastic thriller and I highly recommend it.
With thanks to Kim Nash of Bookouture for sending me a review copy of this book.
Tom Bale has had a variety of jobs including retail assistant, claims negotiator and project manager, but none was as exhausting as the several years he spent as a househusband with two pre-school children. Tom has been writing since the age of seven, and completed his first novel at fifteen. After twenty years and hundreds of rejection slips, his first novel SINS OF THE FATHER was published under his real name, David Harrison. With his next book, SKIN AND BONES, he acquired an agent, a pseudonym and a book deal that enabled him to write full time. He lives in Brighton with his family. Visit his website at www.tombale.net, follow him on Facebook, or on Twitter: @t0mbale (zero instead of "o").