Wilbrook, Western Australia. A sleepy, rural town on the edge of the outback. The police don’t have to deal with much aside from the odd domestic. That changes when Gabriel walks into Sergeant Chandler Jenkins’ police station, claiming he has escaped the clutches of a serial killer who was intent of making Gabriel his 55th victim. He details his escape and names a man called Heath as the killer.
A short while later, a man purporting to be Heath walks into the station, and proceeds to tell the exact same story, with Gabriel as the killer.
Two men telling the same story. Only one can be telling the truth…
I loved this book. It was genuinely intriguing. I had so many predictions as to what might happen, none of which came close!
The book is told as two stories. The present day story is of family man Chandler, the Sergeant of the station, trying to get to the bottom of the strange case. As it becomes a bigger story, he is forced to share the station with Mitch, an inspector from the big city. It’s clear these men have a past, a none-to-happy past. This past is told as a flashback.
The flashbacks tell of Mitch and Chandler as they start of their policing careers, in 2002. It intertwines with the main storyline flawlessly. It is an interesting dynamic to the story and really showcases the writing. I quickly formed allegiances with certain characters. I groaned at decisions made, words said and actions taken, both in the past and present stories, sensing repercussions.
The setting is the perfect place for the story to happen. The feeling of a small town caught up in something unprecedented. The harsh, unexplored vastness of outback Western Australia is used as a supporting character, hugely important to the storyline.
It really is a fantastic debut novel from James Delargy. It is fast paced, there is plenty of action but it also has plenty of emotional undercurrents; power, family and religion to name a few.
55 is available from 4th April. Please grab a copy, you will not be disappointed.
Thank you to James, Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.