A retired detective and a young woman are about to face their worst fears.
Vicki Reiner is emotionally isolated and craves the fleeting happiness she experienced in the years prior to her college graduation. In an attempt to recapture this, she invites her former friend and room-mate, Laurie, for a break at her deserted beachside home. However, despite booking an online bus ticket, her friend never shows up and seems to have vanished.
Unable to accept the bizarre circumstances of the disappearance, Vicki approaches the police who dismiss her concerns before enlisting the reluctant help of Leighton Jones – a newly retired detective who is haunted by the death of his teenage daughter. Despite trying to remain detached from the case, Leighton is drawn to Vicki and her search for justice.
The unlikely pair face numerous obstacles but using a combination of methods he and Vicki track the killers who are working across the dusty freeways of North America.
Soon Vicki and Leighton find themselves nervously waiting at a remote bus stop expecting the arrival of the bus.
Will they ever discover what happened to Laurie?
And can they both escape with their lives?
Firstly, I would like to once again thank Bloodhound Books, N M Brown and Sarah Hardy, for the ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.
I should start by confessing that this book made me glad I don’t have to travel by bus in America and determined never to travel on a coach on my own!
Now I admit I’m easily scared. So the fact this book scared me, freaked me out a little and has made my phobia of coach travel worse, won’t surprise my friends.
The Girl On The Bus did more than enough to scare me, but wasn’t full of gratuitous violence for which I was very grateful. I think dedicated, hardcore thriller readers might wish this book had more shock factor, but for me it delivered the perfect balance.
The characterisation was interesting, with a young female protagonist and an older male lead to balance the partnership out. Vicki is a depressed, insecure IT expert looking for her missing friend and Leighton a recently retired detective, seeking relief from memories that haunt him. They make an unusual and original partnership and I loved that at the point they meet, both are in need of friendship and its this that binds them into the novels two main characters. We don’t get to learn much about the supporting cast, but that worked, because they were there to provide the drama and by not fleshing them out, the writer avoided the story being overly cluttered.
Its an easy read and I think it will appeal to those thriller readers who find darker novels not to their liking. It doesn’t seek to freak the reader out with glory details, leaving much to the readers imagination.
Its what I most liked about the book, the ease of reading, the likeable characters and the plausible storyline. There are so many different types of thrillers, some are gritty and dark and that’s not to everyone’s taste. The Girl On The Bus will appeal to those who like a thriller that entertains and doesn’t seek to horrify them with detailed descriptions of the victims untimely deaths.
I would certainly read more by this author. But no trains please, I’m running out of transport options!
Norman M. Brown is an author living and working in Scotland. He attended secondary school in Stirling where he spent more time in the library or in the nearby park with a paperback, than he did in classes. Ironically, having graduated from Stirling University with a degree in English, he soon ended up back on the classroom again – where he has shared his love of fiction for two decades.
Having experimented with poetry, scripts and short stories over the years, he finally decided to write sit down and write the type of fiction he would like to read. The result was his crime thriller -The Girl on the Bus. As result, Norman was delighted to be signed to Bloodhound Books at the start of this year. The Girl in the Bus, is his first published novel. He is currently writing a second novel based on its protagonist – detective Leighton Jones.