Blink by K L Slater

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What if the person you love most in the world was in terrible danger … because of you?

Three years ago, Toni’s five-year-old daughter Evie disappeared after leaving school. The police have never been able to find her. There were no witnesses, no CCTV, no trace. 

But Toni believes her daughter is alive. And as she begins to silently piece together her memories, the full story of the past begins to reveal itself, and a devastating truth.

Toni’s mind is trapped in a world of silence, her only chance to save herself is to manage the impossible. She must find a way to make herself heard. She must find her daughter. 

*********

I couldn’t put this psychological thriller down. There was no slow build up. Blink grabbed my attention right from the opening lines – the words of an unknown person, “You don’t know this, but I watch you. I watch you a lot …” I couldn’t quite make up my mind if these were the words of the person who abducted 5 year old Evie or possibly her mother or even someone else.

It’s one of these stories that switches between the present and three years earlier. I’ve read a few of these time shift stories and I usually enjoy them. I think the gradual revelation of past events really adds something to the story if written well.

The present is set in a room in the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, where a patient lies unresponsive and hooked up to machines that are keeping her alive, apparently having suffered a massive stroke.  The medical staff consider her to be in a vegetative state however the patient can hear and think and inside she is screaming for attention. She just can’t respond in any way. But she can remember some things like Evie’s face and her laughter. She also can hear doctors discussing the possibility of switching off the machines that are keeping her alive.

Three years earlier Toni and her 5 year old daughter Evie had moved to Nottingham to be nearer to Toni’s mother. Toni is a single parent (not by choice) who had suffered a devastating loss and who was not coping well. The move has been difficult for both of them.

Nothing seems to go right for her. She is obviously suffering from depression and anxiety and uses pills that were not prescribed for her to help her calm down and sleep. Toni and her mum, although close, don’t always agree especially where Evie is concerned. You feel as if Toni is starting to lose the plot and on the brink of a breakdown. She is so desperate you feel she’ll believe what she wants to believe and not question other people’s motives too much. When she takes a pill she can’t be roused even when Evie tries to waken her. There are various incidents and mix ups especially in relation to Evie’s attendance at her new school. Is Toni guilty of neglecting her 5 year old daughter? I found Harriet Watson, the domineering teaching assistant who tries to pass herself off as Evie’s teacher, particularly sinister.

Toni manages to find a part time job in an estate agency, despite her mother’s objections that Evie needs her mum at the moment, but that is not without complications either. Her boss seems like a nasty, vindictive person but who can turn on the charm when clients are around, and was perfectly charming to Evie when she and her mum called in at the office one morning.

The tension builds up as Toni’s mental state deteriorates. There are several characters in the book who are frankly a bit strange and any one of them could be involved in the subsequent disappearance of Evie.

There are a few shocking twists in the story and although I felt the ending perhaps came a bit too quickly, I really enjoyed this book.  Nothing was done around my house until I finished it.

You can find my thoughts on Kim’s debut novel Safe With Me here.  I think Blink is just as good, maybe even better.

[My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Bookouture, for providing an advance copy]

Author’s website here

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