You don’t know who they are. You don’t know why they’re hunting her. But you know she’s in danger.
What do you do?
When teacher Jenni Wales sees 15-year-old Destiny’s black eye, she’s immediately worried. Destiny isn’t your average student: she’s smart, genius IQ smart, and she’s in care. But concern turns to fear when Jenni witnesses an attempt to abduct Jenni from school.
Who are these men and what can Destiny know to make them hunt her?
With those around her not taking the threat seriously, Jenni does the only thing she can think of to keep Destiny safe: she takes her.
I found this debut novel by Kate Bradley well written and a little different from the normal thriller. The book kicks off right from the very start, leading you down a particular path that you soon realise, with the unreliable nature of the character of Jenni, may not be all that it seems.
As the blurb explains the book starts when ex soldier and now teacher Jenni witness an attempted abduction of one of her students, Destiny. The men who try to take Destiny clearly mean business, but when Jenni feels that Destiny’s protection is not given enough immediate action, she feels there is only one thing she can do and that’s to take matters into her own hands and protect Destiny herself. As an ex soldier she has no fears for her own safety, knowing that she is more than capable of looking after herself and perhaps, therefore, even this child.
Yet there is a definite sense, right from the very beginning, that Jenni, with her difficulties in reading people and other problems we learn of as you re into the book, may not be understanding the full picture here.
Our other main character, Destiny, is a very complex character who has spent her more recent ‘childhood’ in care. Intelligent and some what of a closed book, we gradually hear more of her story as the novel progresses.
It certainly has a fast paced plot, with lots of threads and twists darting here and there keeping the reader on their toes! It also keeps you engaged by use of flash backs and explanations of where the two main characters find themselves at this time, which goes some way in explaining their behaviour.
There are some violent scenes in the book, such as physical fighting, and has a very dark and serious subject at the core of the novel.
I liked the way the book is divided up into the main protagonists, each narrating their own chapters. The other characters in the book are equally as complex and mysterious. George is an example here. I wasn’t quite sure what role he was playing in the story, a red herring to disorientate the reader even more perhaps? Indeed I wasn’t entirely sure what was what until toward the end, even at one point wondering if Jenni herself was one of the good guys or not!
There were a few parts of the story line I found a little unbelievable, but with the pace, twists and turns and dramatic events along the way I was able to ignore this and just enjoy this slightly different take on a thriller type read.
To Keep You Safe is out now! Published by Zaffre.