Her life for theirs: The Pact by Sharon Bolton #bookreview #ThePact

A golden summer, and six talented friends are looking forward to the brightest of futures – until a daredevil game goes horribly wrong, and a woman and two children are killed.
18-year-old Megan takes the blame, leaving the others free to get on with their lives. In return, they each agree to a ‘favour’, payable on her release from prison.
Twenty years later Megan is free.
Let the games begin . . .

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Hi and welcome to my little corner of the bookish world where today it is my absolute pleasure to close the tour for The Pact! Huge thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invite and to Trapeze for the fabulous review copy!

Sharon Bolton is one of my favourite authors and so The Pact was one of my most anticipated 2021 reads. Was it everything I expected? Yes, yes it was! I was sucked in from the start and the more I read, the more I forgot all about the world around me, even ignoring a rumbling stomach because I just couldnโ€™t stop reading. (For those of you who donโ€™t know me very well: this is A VERY BIG DEAL INDEED, food almost always takes priority!)

The Pact kicks off with the senior prefect team on the eve of their A level results day. They are six friends who have it all and, without realising it, could lose it all in the blink of an eye. Five kids from wealthy families, one odd one out, Megan, the one with a scholarship. Five somewhat drunken nights that summer, with each friend driving up the motorway in the wrong direction, a fast ride, only a couple of minutes on a usually deserted road, no harm, no foul, they’re golden, nothing can hurt them. It’s the sixth ride, the sixth drunken night on that special eve, when everything goes to hell in a handbasket: they cause a crash in which a woman and her two children die.

No need for all of them to lose their bright futures, one will take the blame, this they all agree on. Eventually itโ€™s Megan who says she will be the scapegoat, she will confess. And she does, but it soon appears that they have all deeply underestimated the repercussions of such a confession. Megan is put on trial for a lot more than reckless driving, her case a signal to other teens with daredevil inclinations.

Still the pact stands: in return for taking the blame, each of Megan’s friends will owe her a favour, whatever she asks for in the future she will get, no questions asked, no discussion, and no way of getting out of it, as Megan has the pact in writing and on film.

Fast forward to twenty years later and Megan is released from HMP Durham. She claims to have some sort of amnesia, half her memories of that summer are gone. Does she speak the truth or is she playing a game with her former friends? As the story progressed I couldnโ€™t help but wonder: has she lost her marbles in prison, or is this her revenge? For a long while I wasn’t sure but there was one thing I knew for certain: I sure as hell hoped the gang was getting their comeuppance, I wanted nothing more than to see them squirm. Vengeful? Me? Well, perhaps a tad.

To be clear: if you need to like your characters to get on with a book, you’d better give this one a pass. If you love to hate a bunch of characters, though, step right up, there’s five right here whose lights I would have happily punched out. Bloody hell but how self-important and egocentric can you get?! It had me fuming!! Is the situation hyper realistic? Perhaps not. However, the way these people are portrayed makes it all utterly believable.

I admit I figured out part of the plot well before the reveal, but that didnโ€™t stop the adrenaline flowing while I kept turning the pages as fast as I could, it was so very intense.

I had the best time with The Pact. A superb premise, excellent characterisation and a riveting plot, The Pact has everything I seek in a thriller and I would happily recommend it to any and all thriller fans out there.

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