Simon Beckett - Stone Bruises (3 stars)

An atmospheric and immersive tale about a fleeing Brit's misadventures in rural France

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Simon Beckett - Stone Bruises

(Bantam Press)

Attempting to escape from unknown assailants for reasons initially unexplained, Sean flees from his native London to rural France. He is then forced to seek refuge on a desolate farm run by a brutish farmer and his two daughters, following an accident with an animal snare. Sean learns more about this mysterious family and begins to pursue explosive questions that eventually uncover some shocking secrets, all while trying to ensure that his own past doesn’t come back to haunt him.

Deeply atmospheric and immersive, Stone Bruises questions how much we can really know about each other and how far we are willing to push ourselves, particularly when lives are at risk. Although Sean’s journey is intriguing and his love for the French summer intoxicating, the characters rarely evoke a strong empathy from the reader. However, ignoring the disassociation felt towards some characters and a couple undercooked plot twists, Simon Beckett’s talent for describing the everyday and usually mundane in an elegant manner makes Stone Bruises a great read regardless.

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