Genre: Crime Thriller
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Published: 23rd January 2020
Reviewed: 30th December 2019
History doesn't repeat itself. Does it?
A distressed teenage girl is found on the outskirts of Oxford. The story she tells is terrifying: grabbed off the street, a plastic bag forced over her head, then driven somewhere remote and subjected to an assault.
DI Adam Fawley is doing the best he can to investigate, but the teenager refuses to press charges. All he can do is try to ignore the sickening feeling he's seen something like this before...
But when another girl goes missing, Fawley knows his time is running out.
Because if he ignores the past any longer, this girl may not be coming back.
All the Rage by Cara Hunter is a chilling crime thriller that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. The story starts with a flashback style prologue, where the third-person narrator focalises on an unknown predator: ‘he can hear the clank of shoes against the pavement’; before cranking up the creepiness and zooming in on the predator’s free-indirect thoughts: ‘sequins, red gash mouths, tottering about on their tarty shoes; the silly bitches’. These are no longer the words of the narrator but those of the predator: It is like you are right there: seeing things exactly from his eyes and listening to how his mind ticks - and this is utterly terrifying.
The main story then switches to two teenage girls, Faith Appleford and Sasha Blake. Faith is a nineteen-year-old fashion student who has moved away from her old town to start a new life. Sasha, who happens to look just like Faith, is fifteen and at school studying for her GCSEs. We see them eating breakfast with their respective families and getting ready for their school/college day. They are both ordinary teenage girls, living ordinary lives. Either one of them will no doubt remind the reader of somebody they know: daughter; niece; neighbour… But a few hours later Faith has been attacked and is found wandering the streets of Oxford disorientated and distressed; not only that, she refuses to formally report whatever it is that has happened to her – why? Just what is it she is hiding?
Although Faith is adamant that she doesn’t want the police involved, the taxi driver who found her uses his better judgement and reports it. This brings in D I Adam Fawley and his team: Erica Somer, Verity Everett, Gareth Quinn, Chris Gislingham, Andrew Baxter, and Tony Asante. These are all characters from previous novels in the series, except Tony Asante who is new. Like previous novels, Fawley’s perspective is in first-person, allowing the reader to inch just that little bit closer to him than the other characters in the novel, who are narrated in third-person. Together with Fawley’s personal life as the subplot, this dual method of narration leaves the reader in no doubt he is the protagonist and everything that happens comes back to Fawley and his world.
But what happened to Faith is closer to home than Fawley is comfortable with and when Sasha also goes missing, with an even more devastating outcome, Fawley and his team are under more pressure than ever to solve the case – not least because the attacks show copy-cat like similarities to one of D I Fawley’s previous cases. But this isn’t just any case; as well as Fawley’s professional reputation being under threat, Fawley’s past on a personal level are also dragged up and the timing couldn’t be worse.
What I really liked about All the Rage was the way in which it was structured around short scenes; each building like a roller-coaster but stopping just short of the climatic point, leaving me dangling and my heart pounding, desperate for the ride to tip over the edge – but then the story switches to another equally edge of the seat scene, leaving me frantically turning the pages to find out more, before the process is repeated and that plot twist is left hanging in the air as we return to the previous one. But where the author is really clever is how she drags the reader into both the mindset of the stalker (whether this is the same person who attacked Faith and/or Sasha, is something you will just have to find out for yourself) and the investigation itself. Certain parts of the narrative have an epistolary style, where social media, online forums, and police interview transcripts are revealed; allowing the reader to piece together the evidence alongside Fawley and his team. The reader often finds out a piece of evidence from one strand before Fawley or a member of his team does, but before the information reaches them the scene shifts to another one. So frustrating – but so addictive – and a very clever literary device on the author’s part!
Cara Hunter seems to just get better and better. I didn’t see all the plot twists coming but when they arrived it was like a lightbulb moment; they were all logical and pieced together like an intricate jigsaw puzzle, making for a very satisfying read. The story will chill you to the bone; its realistic plausibility is what makes it so shockingly terrifying and is a story that will stay with you long after reading. The novel contains themes that are as controversial as they are contemporary, and the author deals with these issues in a sensitive way. After the Rage is undoubtedly the best in the D I Dawley series so far and I would recommend this book for anybody who likes Sheila Quigley or Jo Ullah.
Thank you to the author and publisher
for an Advance Review Copy of this book
in return for an honest and unbiased review.
About the Author
Cara is lucky enough to live in the city she writes about. Oxford will be familiar to crime fans across the whole world because of the fabulous Morse novels and TV, but Cara’s version of the town is a long way from the beautiful ivy-clad colleges. A much edgier place where the crimes are darker and closer to home.
Cara has always been a voracious reader and viewer of crime – she’s learned so much from the outstanding writing that we now see on crime TV like Line of Duty or Broadchurch; and has tried to recreate the experience of watching series like that for her readers. She loves true crime TV as well - her husband used to tease her about it but now just nods sagely and says 'research'!
What else about Cara? She has pet cats who do their best to distract her whenever she gets close to a keyboard (if you have cats, you'll know), she loves travelling, spending time with friends, and has never knowingly turned down a glass of champagne....
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