She’s Got Nowhere Left to Hide.
A year ago, in desperation, Felicity Lloyd signed up for a lengthy research trip to the remote island of South Georgia. It was her only way to escape.
And Now He’s Coming for Her. Freddie Lloyd has served time for murder. Out at last, he’s on her trail. And this time, he won’t stop until he finds her.
Because no matter how far you run, some secrets will always catch up with you.
Hi and welcome to my review of The Split by Sharon Bolton! Huge thanks to Alex Layt @ the Orion Publishing Group for the tour invite and the audiobook!
Back in 2016, I listened to Daisy in Chains and I fell head over heels for Ms Bolton’s writing, so much so that I ended up buying the paperback as well, and then I went back and read every single book she’d ever written. And I loved them all, they’re all solid four or five star reads for me, so when I heard about The Split I was on tenterhooks and that’s putting it mildly. I was over the moon when I got the tour invite and the second I received the audiobook I literally dropped everything to listen to it.
When I’m so familiar with an author’s oeuvre I can’t help but compare their latest novel to their previous ones. I’d say The Split is in line with Ms Bolton earlier standalone thrillers in terms of atmosphere and that certain je-ne-sais-quoi, cleverness perhaps, or a play on perception, so if you loved those, you’ll love this one, and if you’re new to Ms Bolton, this is as good a place to start as any. The vibe was especially reminiscent of Little Black Lies, what with the remote location and the overall darkness of the story.
The Split is set in South Georgia, and let me be painfully honest: I had never heard of the place before this book (what can I say, I know a little about a lot, but geography will never be my strong suit). This, by the way, is typical of Sharon Bolton novels: I always learn so much from her books, without ever feeling like I’m being lectured. So, in case you’re as hopeless as I am: South Georgia is an island in the Atlantic Ocean and a British Overseas territory. In other words: remote, desolate, scarcely populated. Or: the perfect setting for an atmospheric psychological thriller!
In the opening part of The Split we find ourselves in South Georgia in the company of glaciologist Felicity. She’s on edge because she’s expecting company in this unlikeliest of places, Freddie is coming for her and that terrifies her. Chapters alternate between Felicity and Freddy, what is their connection, and what happened between them to make them both so desperate, her to get away, him to get to her?
Leaving the reader with many questions and zero answers, the story subsequently takes us to Cambridge in the months leading up to Felicity’s departure for South Georgia. She has been attacked but can’t remember a thing, and she is forced to seek counselling. Her psychiatrist Joe soon discovers she’s a tough nut to crack, what is she hiding from him and even from herself? Chapters alternate between the two, and it’s clear as day that they are both fighting demons, and quite possibly themselves and their memories.
Whatever you think this book is about, it’s probably not that. I cottoned on to the main underlying theme rather soon, but I had not expected it there and although the big reveal didn’t come as a surprise because I had seen it coming, I thoroughly enjoyed getting there. My lips are sealed, I won’t risk spoiling any surprises, but I do want to reveal one little something that might be triggering so I want to address that real quick: there is a tiny (child) abuse storyline, really only a fraction of the story, but it broke my heart, so I’m just putting this little warning out there.
The Split is narrated by Katie Scarfe, I listened to her before (and odds are you have too, she’s narrated lots of books) and it was a pleasure to listen to her again. She tweaks her voice to accommodate the various characters, and there was one particular voice that popped up unexpectedly while I was listening in the dark and it nearly scared me to death, marvellous job!
The Split is a broodingly atmospheric psychological thriller that messes with your head and remains suspenseful until the last chapter. Recommended!