The Drift by C.J. Tudor @cjtudor @MichaelJBooks

Source: Review copy
Publication: 19 January from Michael Joseph
PP: 400
ISBN-13: 978-0241486245

My thanks to Michael Joseph for an advance copy for review

Survival can be murder . . .

Hannah awakens to carnage, all mangled metal and shattered glass. Evacuated from a secluded boarding school during a snowstorm, her coach careered off the road, trapping her with a handful of survivors.

Meg awakens to a gentle rocking. She’s in a cable car stranded high above snowy mountains, with five strangers and no memory of how they got on board.

Carter is gazing out of the window of an isolated ski chalet that he and his companions call home. As their generator begins to waver in the storm, the threat of something lurking in the chalet’s depths looms larger.

Outside, the storm rages. Inside each group, a killer lurks.

But who?

And will anyone make it out alive? . . .

The Drift is an apocalyptic, dystopian horror with a chilling murder mystery at its heart. Three groups of people in three different locations, each fighting for their lives. Who are they and how do they intersect?

In The Drift, C.J. Tudor brings together the horror and mystery elements of her writing in the strongest way yet. This is a genuinely horrific story, not least because it brings to the fore memories of the pandemic, which for some have barely faded.

This is dystopian fiction, but like a lot of dystopian fiction I am currently reading, it doesn’t feel all that far away. The horrors that C.J. Tudor is projecting may be fiction, but they are also all too believable.

The locations are freezing, presumably due to climate change. Two sets of people are trying to get to The Retreat. One group is on an upturned bus after an accident. They don’t know each other and the trust is low between them. Trust is also low in the cable car suspended by just one cable now and its occupants are stranded.

Getting out of these precarious situations would be difficult enough in any circumstances, but knowing that outside there are other serious challenges to life facing them, makes this a really tricky scenario. Pretty much no-one in The Drift is who they claim to be. Add a killer to the mix and the tension is ramped high and only gets more nail-biting as the book progresses.

The Drift is like a cross between Contagion and The Walking Dead. There are plenty of unlikeable characters and one or two who you really feel have had a really bad deal from life and that makes you want to root for them. But getting to their destination isn’t necessarily the great goal it seemed to be when they set out. In a well-paced novel, the snow is constantly shifting and what lies below is ever more horrific than the original landscape implied.

There is danger and duplicity in every scene and Tudor does not flinch from including some pretty grim scenes, making this an icy, disturbing story where your blood really will run cold.

Verdict: The Drift is dark, menacing and a true horror story. I would genuinely caution you if you have a nervous disposition, because this is a no holds barred C.J.Tudor and that makes this a scary and very brutal read, exceedingly well executed in plot and style.

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C. J. Tudor’s love of writing, especially the dark and macabre, started young. When her peers were reading Judy Blume, she was devouring Stephen King and James Herbert.Over the years she has had a variety of jobs, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, dog walker, voiceover artist, television presenter, copywriter and, now, author. C. J. Tudor’s first novel, The Chalk Man, was a Sunday Times bestseller and sold in over forty countries. Her second novel, The Taking of Annie Thorne, was also a Sunday Times bestseller as was her third novel, The Other People. All three books are in development for TV. Her fourth novel, The Burning Girls, was a Richard and Judy Book Club selection and has been adapted for television by award-winning screenwriter Hans Rosenfeldt (creator of The Bridge and Marcella). It will debut on Paramount Plus in 2023. The Drift is her fifth novel and has also been optioned for the screen. C.J. Tudor is also the author of A Sliver of Darkness, a collection of short stories. She lives in Sussex with her family.

Published by marypicken

Passionate book reader. Love all kind of books from 19th century novels to crime thrillers. My blog is predominantly crime, psychological thrillers and police procedurals with a good helping of literary fiction thrown in.

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