Book Review: The Other People

Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window. She mouths one word: ‘Daddy.’ It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy.

He never sees her again.

Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights traveling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them. Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter.

Then, the car that Gabe saw driving away that night is found, in a lake, with a body inside and Gabe is forced to confront events, not just from the night his daughter disappeared, but from far deeper in his past.

His search leads him to a group called The Other People.

If you have lost a loved one, The Other People want to help. Because they know what loss is like. They know what pain is like. They know what death is like.

There’s just one problem . . . they want other people to know it too.

CJ Tudor’s fourth standalone novel, “The Other People” is nothing short of a thrilling, unputdownable mystery fiction that deftly reflects on circumstances and tragedies in relation to one’s frame of reference on death and revenge.  Gabe, Tudor’s main character, is presented as a father who had years to deal with the unfathomable loss of his wife and daughter. But Gabe had not come to terms with his daughter Izzy’s death just as yet. He stood by what he saw the night of the murder: Izzy’s face, with an unmistakable tooth missing in front, surfaced in a beat-up car just in front of Gabe while driving along the M1 motorway. He knew what he saw, believed it, and acted upon it with all the desperate hope a father always has for his child– holding on the belief that his daughter is alive and he will do whatever it takes to get her back.  

A story about a father’s undoing by what he believed was caused by his costly miscalculations, “The Other People” gives an insight into coping with grief and loss burdened by guilt and revenge.  Similar to another thriller novel, “The Kill Club” by Wendy Heard, Tudor has also fabricated a sinister underground organization hired to exact revenge founded on the Old Testament biblical justification: “an eye for an eye” on quid pro quo terms.

Layered with multiple narratives, Tudor has expertly presented each character’s backstory in well-structured chapters reaching mini-climaxes here and there, ending with suspenseful dialogues and cliffhangers.  The plot’s dramatic tension a stark reminder of why thriller novels serve to delight readers of the genre despite its taxing nature. I was unquestionably hooked from the beginning–how Tudor ably introduced her characters individually until the readers get to piece the events together, revealing how they were all connected by circumstances.  But the plot promises more than just another nail-biting bootless errand; not just another mystery to solve but one that appends a paranormal side story to contend with.

However, what started out as a brilliant atmospheric plot catapulted into an upsetting ending.  The build-up toward an intriguing plot twist was palpable and gripping yet, it was the novel’s ending that I found least convincing. What made up for the plot’s “thriller and suspense” facet, went downhill due to its lackluster depiction of the supernatural storyline: the paranormal connection between Alice and the girl she sees in the mirror.  The big reveal somehow failed to justify the atmospheric tension built on a purportedly solid premise. Despite being brilliant in many ways, this novel left me with a nagging feeling of being shortchanged. I was mostly geared toward the supernatural aspect of the story but the tasteless and rushed denouement of that part of the story failed to have upped the ante otherwise, it would have been a perfect thriller novel.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Author: C.J Tudor

Genre: Thriller / Mystery / Horror

Length: 327 pages

Publisher: January 28th 2020 by Ballantine Books

ISBN-10: 1984824996

ISBN-13: 978-1984824998

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