Three years ago, Toni’s five-year-old daughter Evie disappeared after leaving school. The police have never been able to find her. There were no witnesses, no CCTV, no trace. But Toni believes her daughter is alive. And as she begins to silently piece together her memories, the full story of the past begins to reveal itself, and a devastating truth. Toni’s mind is trapped in a world of silence, her only chance to save herself is to manage the impossible. She must find a way to make herself heard. She must find her daughter.
Blink opens with a hospitalised woman. We are not told for some time who she is. What we do know is that she has “locked in” syndrome – she is fully conscious of what is going on around her but she is completely paralysed, so has no means of communicating with the medical staff who believe she is in a coma and unlikely to ever recover. The story switches between the past and present in a way that is very clearly signposted and easy to follow.
It does, however, require a certain amount of suspension of disbelief, which, if you can get over it, does not hamper the readability of this psychological thriller.
Toni Cotter is in a difficult place. Once a successful businesswoman she is now newly bereaved; her husband died following a terrible accident in Afghanistan, she is in debt and having a hard time coming to grips with her new situation.
When she is forced by financial circumstances to leave her home with her five year old daughter, Evie, she moves into a down market area near her mother, in Nottingham.
Still grieving, she is having a very hard time coming to terms with her new situation and is relying on her husband’s left over medication to help her through the day.
She finds the neighbours unsettling and though she needs her mother’s help, the relationship between them is somewhat cool as her mother doesn’t really understand what Toni is going through.
Things look up for Toni when she successfully applies for a part time job in an estate agent – a role below her proven capabilities but one which allows her to take Evie to her new school every day and pick her up at the end of the school day.
But Evie does not seem happy in her new primary school, despite the efforts of her teacher, who is going out of her way to be helpful.
One day, Toni is late collecting Evie because her mother is in the hospital. When she finally gets to the school it is empty and Evie has disappeared.
With a myriad of likely suspects to choose from, and some pretty unlikeable characters, the reader‘s attention is focussed on Toni’s relationships with neighbours, colleagues and others who may have a motive.
Blink is an easy read and certainly has lots of red herrings to keep you guessing.
I did work out who was responsible, but there were other clues that mislead me and so there was enough in the book to keep me wondering and interested.
Blink is published by Bookouture on 16 February 2017