Title: 24 Hours
Author: Claire Seeber
Publication Date: 9 October 2015
Rating: 4 out of 5
Here today. Dead tomorrow?
My best friend, Emily, is dead – killed last night in a hotel fire.
But it was meant to be me.
Now I have 24 hours to find my daughter.
Before he finds out I’m still alive.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a review copy of 24 Hours.
I was very keen to read 24 Hours after becoming intrigued by the very limited blurb and I’m happy to say that it certainly did not disappoint.
The story follows Laurie. Her best friend, Emily, has just been killed and Laurie suspects that she was the real intended target. She is desperately afraid for the safety of her young daughter, Poppy, who is currently on holiday with Laurie’s mother and sets out on a mission to find Poppy before anything bad happens.
The plot is absolutely gripping and suitably complex for a psychological thriller, with just enough twists and turns to keep me hooked. I was left guessing until the very end of the story as to who was responsible for Emily’s death and whether Laurie really was the intended victim. I found the story to be utterly absorbing and I had difficulty putting it down. I particularly enjoyed the pacing of the story, Seeber’s style of writing and the way in which Laurie’s narrative is formed.
The story is told over a dual-time frame, with the chapters varying between ‘Now’ and ‘Then’. This allows the reader to become quickly absorbed in the tale whilst using the ‘then’ chapters to fill in some of the blanks relating to the background to Laurie’s current predicament. The ‘Now’ section is told over a 24 hour period and Seeber has certainly had to fit a lot into that 24 hour time frame! The story progresses at a fast pace and this certainly ensured my continuing interest in the story.
I felt that the characterisation was very well done. Whilst sometimes I found myself doubting the reasonableness of Laurie’s actions and the lucidity of her train of thoughts, there was no doubt as to her desperation and panic ensuing from her race against time to keep her daughter safe from harm. Whilst there are a number of supporting characters in the story, the focus really is solely on Laurie and her thoughts/feelings, creating an emotional and intense atmosphere.
For me, one of the main plus-points to 24 Hourswas the fact that I remained in the dark as to the overall outcome. A sign of a good psychological thriller is when I can’t accurately predict ‘whodunnit’ half way through the story!
Overall, a clever, intense and fast-paced psychological thriller, that left me on the edge of my seat until the very last page!
About the Author
Claire Seeber is a Londoner who started professional life as a (bad) actress and became a documentary maker, a journalist and a writer of, so far, psychological thrillers. The Observer said of her first novel: ‘a disturbing debut’ whilst The Guardian called it ‘powerful’…she keeps writing whilst also studying psychology and (trying to) to manage a home of slightly feral kids and animals. Luckily she’s got a very nice partner to help too.