Redmond, Patrick - 'All She Ever Wanted'
Patrick Redmond has written a very extraordinary book with ALL SHE EVER WANTED, his fourth since 1999.
Tina is a ten-year-old young girl living in a small Essex coastal town with her parents. She is an only child and very shy and withdrawn but she is very close to her father who is a bit of a "jack the lad" sort of character, always out at the pub and very extrovert. He is always getting into fights and has a bad reputation with the ladies. Suddenly, he decides he hates living with his family and just goes off and leaves. Tina is very upset about this and withdraws into her shell and is often taunted at school by her fellow pupils, and bullied in general.
The author traces the development of Tina through the years as she spends all her time in avoiding scrapes with the superior little 'madams' she has to study with. Physically, she seems an ugly lanky child until in her early teens she discovers swimming and joins an after school club and rapidly improves her confidence by winning various competitions. All the swimming improves her physique and she now wears her red hair long and becomes quite an attraction to the boys.
Shy Tina is then psychologically replaced by super confident Chris(tina) and Chrissie won't allow anyone to get an advantage over her and ultimately all the ones that were eager to bully shy Tina are terrified of Chrissie and she gets her revenge.
Chrissie's adult development and various escapades with a variety of men is developed by the author until various influences from her childhood begin to reappear in her adult life culminating in a terrible murder.
Most mystery books, I've read, have the murder early on in the story but in this book it doesn't occur until very near the end which is very different but this enables the author to use other literary devices very successfully to hook the reader's attention.
A very good book that should attract non mystery readers as well.
Terry Halligan, England