When you break THE RULE, bad things happen.
Daniel is looking forward to his birthday. He wants fish and chips, a chocolate caterpillar cake, and six comics starring his favourite superhero. Daniel will be twenty-three next week. And he has no idea that he’s about to kill a stranger.
Daniel’s parents know that their beloved and vulnerable son will be taken away. They know that Daniel didn’t mean to hurt anyone. They dispose of the body. Isn’t that what any loving parent would do? But as forces on both sides of the law begin to close in on them, they realise they have no option but to finish what they started. Even if it means that others will have to die…
Because they’ll do anything to protect him. Even murder.
Hi and welcome to my review of The Rule!
Last year I had a great time with David Jackson’s The Resident so I was impatiently awaiting his next book and when The Rule was revealed I was even more on tenterhooks. The Resident was quite dark, so I guess that’s pretty much what I expected from The Rule, but the former is positively shiny and bright in comparison to the pitch-blackness that is The Rule. I had expected a thriller, not the noir story that I got, but no matter, I loved it even more because of its darkness.
There is, however, one brilliant spark in the dark, and it is Daniel. Daniel who loves Disney films and comic books and chips and his briefcase (cos it’s almost the same as his favourite superhero’s special briefcase). Daniel who loves giving Mrs Collins at the day centre compliments and enjoys playing puppets with his socks. Daniel who thinks like a small boy but has the physique of the twenty-three-year-old man he actually is and because he is much stronger than he realises (like in a “lifting a heavy steel filing cabinet like it’s nothing” kinda way), his parents have imposed The Rule: he is to avoid physical contact with others as much as possible. Daniel loves his parents with every ounce of his being so he knows to respect The Rule, but when his dad’s life is on the line, The Rule is the last thing on Daniel’s mind.
Daniel’s parents love him more than life itself so when they end up with a dead body on their hands courtesy of their son, they decide to take matters into their own hands and not call the police. Illogical, you say? Unbelievable, you scoff? Well, yes, maybe, and I did think I’d have to suspend disbelief but, you know, it sorta made sense. I’d been with Daniel for only a few chapters and I was already quite fond of him and feeling rather protective of him. Despite him not having a bad bone in his body, Daniel’s track record (The Rule was imposed for a reason) would condemn him, police would scare him and he wouldn’t understand what was happening to him. So can you really blame his parents for wanting to protect him by any means necessary? I for one could not.
What ensues is an absolutely thrilling story that felt simultaneously over the top and utterly real and had me at the edge of my seat throughout. With the right actors this would make a brilliant film and one half the viewers would watch through their fingers. Dearie me but the suspense nearly did me in! Things start escalating really badly and it gave me a bit of Breaking Bad vibe, in the sense that the good guy isn’t really all that good anymore but you’re still willing to root for them until you’re blue in the face.
The long and short of it is: I had an excellent time with The Rule and if you’re looking for a dark fast-paced crime novel that will play on your emotions as well as keep you in suspense, you need not look any further, grab yourself a copy of The Rule and enjoy!
The Rule is out on 1 July.
Huge thanks to Viper Books and NetGalley for the eARC. All opinions are still my own.