Before I Left by Daisy White

Before I Left

4/5 stars. While this is a crime story, it is ultimately about the power of friendship to heal old wounds, protect those who are vulnerable, and offer hope for a new future.

Description

A LONG HOT SUMMER, A CITY BY THE SEA, AND A SERIAL KILLER ON THE LOOSE.

Nineteen-year-old runaway Ruby Baker and pregnant best friend Mary escape domestic violence in London to find a new home in Brighton. They join a glitzy set of party girls who are hell-bent on enjoying themselves in the new freedom of the 1960s.

But their new life soon comes under threat. Ruby keeps spotting a tall stranger in the shadows. Someone is watching her. This man may have followed them from London. And Ruby fears her dark secret will be exposed.

Then a murder at a local beauty spot brings more danger for the party-loving set, and the first murder is followed by a second. Rumours of occult sacrifices spread across town.

In a breath-taking conclusion, Ruby faces a race against time to save someone very close to her. Can she keep her secrets from being exposed and her new life from being destroyed?

My thoughts

I loved the evocation of 1960s Brighton, a city which buzzed with life and possibilities. The author brought the city and period to life with well-chosen details alongside the prevalent attitudes and dialogue for the times.

The camaraderie between the guys in Johnnie’s group was the glue that held everything together. They looked out for one another, partied together, and set about solving the murder of one of their own when they felt the police were lacking.

Behind all the glamour and buzz, secrets added to the tension and danger facing Ruby and her cousin, Mary.

While this is a crime story, it is ultimately about the power of friendship to heal old wounds, protect those who are vulnerable, and offer hope for a new future. Though slow to start, the story built to a terrific climax.

4/5 stars.

Before I Left

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