- Shaun Baines
What He Did by JG Roberts
Your husband’s car crash wasn’t an accident…
Maddy Shaw learns the life-shattering news in the most horrific way: live on air. As the shaky mobile phone recording pans over the terrible crash, she recognises her husband Simon’s car in the wreckage… He is critically injured, and she rushes to his side.
Detective Rachel Hart knows how it feels to have a loved one’s life hanging in the balance, and hurries to support her friend. Maddy is distraught about her husband’s accident, and Rachel decides to investigate. It’s not her case, but if she can give her friend answers, she will. But she soon realises Simon didn’t crash because he was distracted, or because a tyre blew. Someone made this happen. Someone who wants Simon dead…
After the discovery of a threatening letter, buried in Simon’s diary, Maddy has to ask how well she knew her husband. Then a new victim is found – an old friend of Simon’s, a man he hasn’t seen in years. It seems a dark secret from their past has finally come to light… The killer has a list of targets, and they are dying one by one.
Rachel must race against time to protect her friend and find the murderer, before another life is taken. But however fast she runs, it seems the killer is always one step ahead. And Maddy must decide if she wants the truth – even if it puts her in the killer’s path…
I was first drawn to this book by the initial premise – a newsreader presenting a story in which she is unwittingly involved, but as the narrative progressed, I realised there was so much more to explore.
The story presents the reader with a moral dilemma – at what cost revenge?
The narrative draws upon a number of timely themes – mental health issues, lax policing and uncertain justice for victims. Because of this, there is a sense of tragedy, that all these events could have been avoided if someone had paid more attention in the past.
What He Did is unique in that the story shouldn't exist. It is born from mistakes that shouldn't have been made.
It's one of the reasons the main character Rachel is so appealing. She has dedicated her life to finding the truth, burdened as she is by her own tragic childhood. Rachel, while sympathetic, cuts through the deceptions and pursues the kind of justice the victims deserve. She is not a maverick, as is so often the case in crime fiction. Like the law itself, she is a black-and-white cop who knows doing her job is the best she can offer.
Her counterpoint Maddy is a TV journalist who reports the truth by presenting the news, but Maddy quickly understands the truth has misled her. Whether that is via her daughter, her boss' ulterior motives or her own husband's murky history.
The plot twists come thick and fast. Suspicions fall on every head. I changed allegiances more times than a politician and I didn't see the ending coming until three pages after it had happened. Nothing is what it seems in What He Did.
The writing is clear and concise whilst subtly building tension from the first page. And when it builds, it builds. At one point, I put the book to one side before my blood pressure caused me issues.
What He Did by JG Roberts is available on Amazon here. Should you enjoy it, please leave a review.