Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Headline Review
1 Aug, 2013
Sometimes a novel comes into your possession that, quite simply, makes time stand still. Collette McBeth’s debut psychological thriller, Precious Thing, make no mistake, is such a book.
With a truly distinctive voice and an injection of tension on every page, here is a novel that will have readers spellbound and fearing that it’s magic may well be broken by putting the book down.
Some friendships fizzle out. Rachel and Clara promised theirs would last for ever. They met when Rachel was the new girl in class and Clara was the friend everyone wanted. Instantly, they fell under one another's spell and nothing would be the same again. Now in their late twenties Rachel has the TV career, the flat and the boyfriend, while Clara's life is spiralling further out of control. Yet despite everything, they remain inextricably bound. Then Clara vanishes. Is it abduction, suicide or something else altogether?
The charm and dread with which Precious Thing is crammed in equal measure derives from the manner in which McBeth – a former BBC News Correspondent – has managed create a dark attitude of mistrust, betrayal and counter betrayal which in many an author’s hands may well become clunky and tedious. Not here, for this author has a grip on her descriptive prose that is so tight the reader, rather than becoming tired, instead becomes ever more involved with Rachel’s dilemma.
Rachel and Clara are delightfully drawn, yet it is the intricacy of the plot and the distinctive quality of the author’s style that will sweep readers away so that as debut thrillers go, Collette McBeth’s Precious Thing stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Gillian Flynn’s multi-award winning debut of 2007, Sharp Objects, and I defy anybody who turns to the first page not to complete the last feeling breathless with anticipation for her second novel already.