THE TASTE OF ASH BY CHRISTINE HAMMACOTT
PENTANGLE PRESS (KINDLE), 2015
I was given a free copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
What is it like to be a victim? How do you move on from losing everything? How do you cope when someone is watching your every move and you have no idea who it is – or what they are going to do next?
When Zoë Graham’s flat burns down in an arson attack she loses everything. But the man in the flat downstairs comes off much worse and a murder investigation is launched. Who started the fire and why? And who was the intended victim? Soon Zoë has reason to wonder if it was her. Feeling like a refugee, all she wants is to get back to some sort of normality and move on with her life – but someone is determined that isn’t going to happen. An unknown stalker sends Zoë’s life spiralling out of control and she doesn’t know which way to turn, or who she can trust.
The shrill blare of an alarm wrenched me from sleep. I pulled the duvet up over my head. Just five more minutes. Blindly I reached an arm out and groped or the alarm clock, bashing wildly. I was sure I’d hit the snooze button, but the wailing didn’t stop. I rolled over to do it properly and saw that it was 2:16 – the middle of the night. That couldn’t be right. And the noise wasn’t coming from the bedside.
WHAT I THOUGHT
The Taste of Ash is Christine Hammacott’s debut.
The Taste of Ash is a well-written, hugely enjoyable thriller. I loved the opening; it really grabs you by the throat, compelling you to read on. I felt I was right there with Zoë, trying to escape the fire. I loved the pacing of the novel. A lot of thrillers are very fast paced, giving you very little time to pause for breath while rushing you from one dramatic event to the next. The Taste of Ash has perfect pacing. There were some tense, fast-paced moments but there was enough slowly building tension to let you pause for breath and take in what was happening. I loved the way events unfolded. I liked the characters. Zoë is a great protagonist. I found her hugely likable and very sympathetic especially when the police did very little to deal with her stalker. The stalking sections were well-written and very unsettling and Zoë’s fear of what would happen next and frustration at the compliancy of the police was excellent. I loved the ending. I wasn’t completely surprised when the stalker’s identity is revealed because some of the character’s actions had caused me to be suspicious. However, I was completely taken for surprise when the reason for the stalking is revealed. I never saw that one coming! The ending is the perfect balance of tension and drama and I loved it.
I’d highly recommend The Taste of Ash and look forward to reading more from this author.