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Acid Row

by Minette Walters

ISBN 0399148620 / 9780399148620 / 0-399-14862-0
Publisher Putnam Adult
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

From the first page, Minette Walters assaults your sensibilities with her psychological thriller Acid Row; she grabs you hard and fast, sustains the onslaught throughout and hits you with a knock-out final blow. Straightaway she informs you that the abduction of 10-year-old Amy and the revelation that a paedophile has been relocated to Acid Row, "a place of deprivation where literacy was poor, drugs endemic and fights commonplace", and where children were left to run wild, leads to rioting and "five hours of savagery leaves three dead".

Even with this prior knowledge, Walters' skill as a novelist never leaves you complacent and nothing prepares you for the horror and tragedy of her novel's shocking denouement. Monsters and heroes are found in the most unlikely places, subverting all your preconceptions: third-time pregnant teenager Melanie incites the protest only to block the rioters when they turn violent; "Big, black" Jimmy James is just out of prison but risks his neck to save the life of an injured policewoman; and the 71-year-old asthmatic father of the so-called paedophile turns out to be more sadistic than your worst imaginings.

A page-turning novel doesn't have to be particularly well written or intelligent to hold you in its grip but occasionally one comes along with both qualities and leaves you reeling in its wake. This is it. Acid Row's numerous narratives are so tightly packed and interconnected that no detail is spurious and everything is channelled towards suspense and shattering revelations. Walters just goes from strength to strength. --Nicola Perry [via]