I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Wreckage by Robin Morgan-Bentley
Published by Orion Publishing Group on February 6, 2020
Genres: Psychological Thriller
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
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'Immersive, compulsive and gripping' C. L. Taylor
'Clever and compelling' Fiona Barton
Things will never be the same again...
Ben is driving on the motorway, on his usual commute to the school where he works.
A day like any other, except for Adam, who in a last despairing act jumps in front of Ben's car, and in killing himself, turns the teacher's world upside down.
Wracked with guilt and desperate to clear his conscience, Ben develops a friendship with Alice, Adam's widow, and her 7-year-old son Max.
But as he tries to escape the trauma of the wreckage, could Ben go too far in trying to make amends?
Gripping and sinister, The Wreckage is guaranteed to keep you up all night...
The Wreckage– it’s clear from the offset the tone this story is going to take. A car wreck. Speeding towards an end goal that destroys lives. Whiplash that leaves you feeling pained and distraught. It’s a real play on the title and the deeper meaning behind it is poetic brilliance. This book hits you in the feels like a ten-tonne truck to the chest. You need to escape from the wrecked car, you’re injured, your disorientated and you have to drag yourself to safety. It’s pitch black and your senses have left you. You need to stumble from one event to the other – this book is the direct correlation to this.
As a debut I didn’t know what to expect. Let me tell you this – rarely have I read such a fully immersive, compelling and eye popping read such as The Wreckage. Robin Morgan-Bentley knows just how to lead his readers down a maze, blindfolded and panicky. A Suicide. A Grieving family. A driver left with an incredible responsibility. A mysterious note.
In mere hours Alice’s world is turned upside down. A stay at home mother to her cherished son, Max. she loves a wine or two but tell me what mother doesn’t? Was she expecting the news on that fateful day? What would drive someone to make the decision to throw themselves in front of a moving car on the motorway? I was in my element reading the alternating POV’s in The Wreckage – both Alice’s and Ben’s narrative was emotive and heart-wrenching. It left me with an extreme sense of urgency and it was compelling to have the POV of someone that had been driving the car as opposed to the usual fallout from the victim’s family.
Both Alice and Ben were victims. It was as clear as the nose on your face. Ben really struggled with the feelings of guilt and seemed to only want to do right for his perceived wrong. Alice was left to raise an eight-year-old boy who had his father and her husband wrenched from their lives. There was secrets, lies and a sense of foreboding that kept creeping into my peripheral vision. They are both trying to navigate their own versions of the highway to hell.
I found Ben to be the more interesting character. The Inspectorates proclaimed country’s best school teacher. He has a solid routine that he sticks to, doesn’t drive recklessly, the patience of a saint – the accident hits him very hard. It is also the catalyst that sends him down a destructive and obsessive path. Imagine dominoes – once that first one gets sent on its way, there is no stopping the wave of destruction. This book gave me such an addictive need to find out what happens next – I raced to the finish. The author gave me such a need to work out why Ben, Alice and Adam behaved in the way they did.
In all honesty, I really struggled with Alice. Yes, she was struggling with the death of her husband, but she presented as a bit reckless and irresponsible. She seemed to be so focussed and lost in her own grief that she seemed to lose sight of the most important person – Max. she drank too much and couldn’t acknowledge help when offered. You can tell that her world has turned grey, but she has to be strong for her son. I think the author wrote the character in such a way that you feel conflicted in how she behaves and her motives. Is wrong vs. right so obvious in this story?
The Wreckage is a tightly weaved plot that could cut your oxygen. The story left me guessing right until the end. I doubted every character and felt conflicted around every corner. Be prepared to be catapulted onto a lake of ice, you will need to navigate the thin ice without falling into the cold depths below.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After graduating from Cambridge with a First Class degree in Modern and Medieval Languages, Robin Morgan-Bentley worked for five years at Google.
Since 2014, he has been the Senior Editorial Manager at Audible, responsible for deciding which audiobooks they promote to their customers and how. He also runs their podcast, Audible Sessions, and has interviewed multiple authors including Fiona Barton, Clare Mackintosh, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Anthony Horowitz and Jeffery Deaver to name a few. His conversations with them are what inspired him to start writing.