He Said/She Said
By Erin Kelly
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (February, 2017)
Length: 13hrs 34 mins
In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, four lives change forever.
Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.
And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, she also knows that you can never see the whole picture: something is always hidden . . . something she never could have guessed.
Laura and Kit are in trouble, because of something that happened sixteen years ago.
Laura lives with near-crippling anxiety and Kit must do all he can to keep that anxiety at bay. Both of them harbour potentially catastrophic secrets…
Kelly’s crime thriller explores the current state of the British judicial system through the alleged rape of Beth Taylor during an eclipse festival in Cornwall 1999. Laura and Kit are 21 and travelling to Lizard Point in Cornwall to watch the year’s solar eclipse. When they meet Beth Taylor, their lives are set for a whole new course.
The reader takes a trip through both the past and the present as they uncover the truth about what happened in 1999. It felt as though I was listening to a series of diary entries and I love the episodic nature that this structure offers. You’re drip-fed just enough information to give you the right answer, but enough reason to doubt it at the same time.
When Laura stumbles upon a couple having sex, things quickly spiral and the male, Jamie is accused of raping Beth. The court case that ensues leaves them inextricably tied for the next decade-and-a-half as Jamie’s supporters protest his innocence and Beth is left to try and rebuild her life.
Kelly does a phenomenal job of building suspense and I can honestly say that I didn’t see the revelation coming towards the end of the novel.
I will say, however, that the structure did make the narrative seem very black and white at times. So, I was very unsure about how plausible it would be that Laura and Kit stayed together unrelentingly over the 16 years. Call me a cynic, but I find it a little hard to believe that there wasn’t a lapse in their relationship at all. Kelly does explain this in a roundabout way, I suppose, but you will only come to an answer if you’re looking for it.
I get that this sort of information may not have been integral to the storyline, but surely there are ways Kelly could have shown more progression in their relationship? What progression there is seems very rushed and dare I say unfounded. But, as I said before, you may decide that you realise why towards the end.
Crime is very much a new genre for me, in terms of what I gravitate towards, but this is a great example of a mystery that you can really get your teeth into.