Today is my stop on the blog tour for Gone Astray by Michelle Davies, which is newly released in paperback. I was lucky enough to get a signed Goldsboro Books hardback, and this was the perfect opportunity to read it! I’ll be sharing my review today, as well as having a brilliant guest post from Michelle Davies as well.
About the book:
When a Lesley Kinnock buys a lottery ticket on a whim, it changes her life more than she could have imagined . . .
Lesley and her husband Mack are the sudden winners of a £15 million EuroMillions jackpot. They move with their 15-year-old daughter Rosie to an exclusive gated estate in Buckinghamshire, leaving behind their ordinary lives – and friends – as they are catapulted into wealth beyond their wildest dreams.
But it soon turns into their darkest nightmare when, one beautiful spring afternoon, Lesley returns to their house to find it empty: their daughter Rosie is gone.
DC Maggie Neville is assigned to be Family Liaison Officer to Lesley and Mack, supporting them while quietly trying to investigate the family. And she has a crisis threatening her own life – a secret from the past that could shatter everything she’s worked so hard to build.
As Lesley and Maggie desperately try to find Rosie, their fates hurtle together on a collision course that threatens to end in tragedy . . .
Money can’t buy you happiness.
The truth could hurt more than a lie.
One moment really can change your life forever.
CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO PURCHASE YOUR COPY:
About the author:
Michelle Davies has been writing for magazines for twenty years, including on the production desk at Elle, and as Features Editor of Heat. Her last staff position before going freelance was Editor-at-Large at Grazia magazine and she currently writes for a number of women’s magazines and newspaper supplements. Michelle has previously reviewed crime fiction for the Sunday Express’s Books section.
Michelle lives in London with her partner and daughter and juggles writing crime fiction with her freelance journalism and motherhood. Gone Astray is her first novel.
I had my copy of Gone Astray kept up high on my shelves, as its a signed first edition, so I hadn’t gotten around to reading it until now. I hadn’t re-read the blurb before reading it either, as I didn’t want to go in with any knowledge of the story. This served me well as I was well and truly hooked immediately.
Gone Astray is a promising debut from Michelle Davies. It is a tightly plotted novel with many different strands woven together.Once I started reading, I didn’t want to put it down as I was so engrossed in the story.
Given the fact that it opens with the disappearance of the Kinnock’s daughter, the reader is instantly thrown into a missing persons investigation. With DC Maggie Neville acting as Family Liaison Officer to the family, the story gains traction as Neville has her own past issues threatening to come out during the course of the book.
I won’t go into specifics, but what I will say is that Michelle Davies has written a very confident debut. A crime thriller, with some very interesting threads running through the novel. I really hope this isn’t the last we see of DC Neville, she has the potential to be a superstar main character! Highly recommended!
The pros and cons of using a fictional setting
One of the lengthiest debates I had with myself when I sat down to write Gone Astray was over its setting. Often the advice to authors is write about what you know, but I didn’t think a crime novel set in High Wycombe, the town in south Buckinghamshire where I grew up, would resonate with readers.
Don’t misunderstand me, it’s a perfectly nice town, famous for its chair-making prowess (Ercol, the bentwood furniture brand currently enjoying a resurgence with hipsters, was founded there), being home to the original Fuzzy Felt factory and for spawning James Corden. But could it be as memorable as Rebus’s Edinburgh, Morse’s Oxford or Roy Grace’s Brighton? I decided not.
So I set about creating a fictional town called Mansell that, while similar to High Wycombe in many ways, is actually an amalgamation of every mid-sized town in the south of England that I’ve driven through on my way to somewhere else. Towns that, without signposts telling you otherwise, could be one and the same, each resplendent with a generic high street full of charity shops and pound stores, an industrial estate skirting its perimeter and a huge shopping centre consuming its heart. Towns both uniformly similar and reassuringly familiar, and where any kind of crime can happen.
In some ways it would’ve been less work if I’d chosen a town that existed – famous landmarks do give novels a strong sense of place that I had to create from scratch. But I took reassurance from the fact that Ruth Rendell created a fictional town for her Wexford series to great success. In fact, so well drawn was Kingsmarkham that a New York Times feature published in 1990 to mark Shakes Hands Forever being televised in the US demanded to know its exact location in England. Those American tourists must’ve been so disappointed to find out it didn’t exist!
I’ve also saved myself time spent answering complaints that I’ve put a roundabout in the wrong place, or incorrectly named a street, which can happen when you write about real places. As Mansell’s architect I decide what goes where. It’s like building my own town from Lego – or even Fuzzy Felt!
Thank you for hosting me on my first ever blog tour and for supporting Gone Astray. I hope you enjoy the book!
*My absolute pleasure Michelle! 🙂
Here’s the blog tour info: