by Nell Grey
Trust Me opens with an apparent suicide in a Welsh barn of a farmer, Glyn Evans. However, we are soon given a few hints that this may not be the case and the Detective in charge, Ellis Roberts, certainly believes so. Glyn’s daughter, Annie, comes back from London to support her Mum and the Farm. However, she is escaping from the repercussions of an affair with her boss in London that has gone horribly wrong. She does not need further complications; yet an old flame, Jac Jones, that she has been avoiding for years is also in Wales renting her Parents’ farm and with him an old army friend, Sion Edwards, who uses the farm as a refuge when his life also becomes complicated. Not only does Annie have to navigate the unresolved years and issues with Jac, she also has a similar minefield to walk with her Mum. Just when things in Annie’s life back home begin to become clearer, and more positive, the true nature of Sion’s work threatens to overshadow everything and, there is still the matter of Glyn Evans’ suicide….
This is one the best books I’ve read so far this year. I thought it was excellent. It is an absolute page-turner without being too obvious; your imagination needs to work both in reading the book and also, thinking about the book when you are not reading it, which is the hallmark of a great read. Grey changes the narrative point of view from third to first person throughout the novel which really works. I’ve not read many books where this is successful but it enhances both the story and the characters, especially in the beginning. We are given bits of backstory, mainly for Annie, but some of the other characters as well, in flashback chapters and paragraphs. Again, this tactic can seem a bit lazy but you can tell that Grey has been very carefully effective how and where in the book she has utilised them. She is also masterful at building tension – whether romantically between Jac/Annie and Sion/Claire but also in the second half of book when, what had originally been a side narrative, with Sion and his ‘work’, actually become the main plot. Again, in some writers’ hands, this would seem unnecessary and messy but the ‘original’ narrative just seamlessly segues into the story involving Sion and then very nicely comes all the way back into where we began with Glyn’s ‘suicide’, Annie, Jac and her Mum.
In terms of the romantic tension, especially the will they/won’t they passages concerning Jac and Annie, Nell Grey just continues the misread signals enough. Personally, I get a little bored and frustrated when writers carry it on needlessly, you can reach a plateau and then not really care about the characters. In Trust Me you do care, all the main characters are very well-drawn, with recognisable idiosyncrasies and, in their ways, very likeable.
I did not see the twists coming, and after the major one towards the end, you then get this complete other twist that I really didn’t see coming! Which normally means it’s ridiculously far-fetched – not the case at all. The plot/s are incredibly clever, well-crafted and there is an awful lot of research in this novel that involves different walks and ways of life that is not to be overlooked. Technically, the editing and narrative continuity is faultless.
A cracking read that would appeal to the majority of readers and I cannot recommend highly enough.