YOUR CHILD IS MISSING.
She was only six years old when she disappeared. Posters went up, the police investigated.
But no one could find her.
Now, twelve years later, she’s home.
And knocking at your door.
You’re so happy to see her. But soon you start to wonder why she can’t answer your questions.
Where has she been? How did she find her way home?
And who is she?
Safe by S K Barnett is a superb thriller, with enough twits and turns to keep you guessing from page one to the final nerve wracking final chapters.
The theme of a child going missing is common in the thriller genre, so to stand out from the crowd Safe really needed to up it’s game and it does so with aplomb. It does it by giving us more than the straight forward theme of, is this young women the child that went missing? Then by adding in layer upon layer of deception, danger and mystery, delivers a first class thriller that everyone should read!
I admit that at first I thought this is alright, I have pretty much guessed the truth, but hey it’s still enjoyable! But S K Bennett was toying with me and while I was sat there feeling smug, unleased a series of arcs within the narrative, that blew the story apart and in doing so wiped that smug look right off my face. I have never been more happy than to admit that I was fooled! It delivered a story that read like a dream, yet at the same time, thrill after thrill left me a very satisfied reader. I don’t want to say too much, for fear I might accidently reveal a twist and ruin the book, but I had the metaphorical carpet whipped from underneath me enough times to say with confidence, that Safe delivers on all levels.
I recently read a great blog on the WH Smith site that listed the ten best elements of a thriller and thought it would be fun to check Safe Against them!
Here is the LINK if you want to read it!
It says you need a great story! Well Safe has that, it is positively loaded with feelings dread. Your not sure who is safe and who you can trust!
The opening is not what I would consider action packed, it is a lot more subtle than that, but it sets up the story for the shocking reveals that are all the more affecting for how it plays on a story of loss and a need to closure. While it certainly delivers on telling us what the protagonist wants, she want to be Safe.
Does it have a likeable protagonist? Yes, she is not always likeable, but believe me, you come to understand why and her flaws are what make you care about her. I Desperately wanted her to find a refuge in which she can escape the horrors she has experienced.
S K Barnett gives us a story from more than one point of view and handles it like a real pro. My favourite other than the girl herself, was her confused brother, whose own tortured back story, gives you pause for concern and reason to doubt the whole troubling set up.
Then we have the all important cliff hangers. They are bloody everywhere and it felt like I was sitting on the edge of a cliff waiting for the next chasm to open up in front of me. Safe feels anything but frankly!
A first class villain, oh it has one of those, but they are buried deep in the narrative and your going to have to read on and on until they are truly revealed to you.
Okay character growth is important and it is often missed out of thrillers who favour the wham bam affect, but that often leaves them feeling a bit hollow. So I was delighted that that doesn’t happen in Safe. It’s not even just the lead character that grows, others do to and in learning more about the past, we as readers see them become richer and more fleshed out.
Safe taught me a lot about the traumatic affects a child going missing has not just on the family, but all those around them. It deals with some difficult themes, but doesn’t overload the reader, keeping the balance between thrill and knowledge in perfect balance.
Then there is the all epic ending! Yep, your okay, it has that, it also has something else, a hope of resolution. To know if the girl in the story gets that, your going to have to read Safe, because this is a thriller and being unpredictable, your never promised the ending you want!
Please also consider purchasing from your local indie who need our support more than ever.
About the author
S. K. Barnett is a pseudonym for a New York Times bestselling author whose previous thriller novel Derailed was turned into a major motion picture in 2005 featuring Jennifer Anniston and Clive Owen. He lives in New York State with his family.