Claire Askew – All the Hidden Truths (4 stars)

Claire Askew – All the Hidden Truths

credit: Sally Jubb Photography

Debut novel from the prize-winning poet is a compelling crime drama

In All the Hidden Truths, a novel set in the aftermath of a mass shooting at a fictional Edinburgh college, prize-winning poet Claire Askew delivers a compelling crime debut that tackles difficult questions with compassion and aplomb.

Told from the perspective of Moira, mother to Ryan Summers (the perpetrator who kills himself at the scene), Ishbel, mother of Abigail (his first victim), and Helen Birch, the DI assigned to the case, the novel follows three women who are desperately and doggedly searching for a version of the truth they can live with.

Don't expect to find any easy answers in this skilful whydunnit. Instead, Askew opens up important conversations about toxic masculinity, guilt, grief and how, as a society, we face up to and deal with public tragedies and their painful aftermaths.

Moving from character to character, Askew creates a fragmented yet cohesive story that leaves the reader feeling as compromised, torn and compelled to re-evaluate assumptions of victimhood as her protagonists.

Out now (Three Rivers).

Claire Askew || All the Hidden Truths

Pre-publication, poet Claire Askew's debut novel won the Lucy Cavendish Fiction prize and was subject of a fierce auction. All the Hidden Truths begins with a school shooting in Edinburgh. We know who did it. But why? Askew brilliantly portrays three women seeking answers. A moving study of forgiveness, empathy and how…

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