Happy publication day to Claire McGowan. Her latest novel The Push is out today. With thanks to Sophie Goodfellow for sending me a copy to review.
From the bestselling author of What You Did comes a stunning psychological thriller. One party. Thirteen people. By 3.02 p.m., one of them will be dead.
The party should have been perfect: six couples from the same baby group, six newborns, a luxurious house. But not everything has gone to plan, and while some are here to celebrate, others have sorrows to drown. When someone falls from the balcony of the house, the secrets and conflicts within the group begin to spill out …
DS Alison Hegarty, herself struggling with infertility, is called in to investigate. She’s convinced the fall was not an accident, and finds the new parents have a lot to hide. Wealthy Ed and Monica show off their newborn while their teenage daughter is kept under virtual house arrest. Hazel and Cathy conceived their longed-for baby via an anonymous sperm donor—or so Hazel thinks. Anita and Jeremy planned to adopt from America, but there’s no sign of the child. Kelly, whose violent boyfriend disrupted previous group sessions, came to the party even though she lost her baby. And then there’s Jax, who’s been experiencing strange incidents for months—almost like someone’s out to get her. Is it just a difficult pregnancy? Or could it be payback for something she did in the past?
It’s a nightmare of a case, and as events get even darker it begins to look impossible. Only one thing is clear: they all have something to hide. And for one of them, it’s murder.
I’m a big fan of Claire McGowan’s writing, so I jumped at the chance to read her latest novel, The Push. I found the writing highly addictive. I was drawn into the world, Claire’s new set of characters inhabit and I was engrossed in their lives. What I thought was interesting about this book, is that we know someone has died, but we don’t know who it is straight away. That is gradually revealed over the course of the book, and it’s what I found all the more intriguing. I thought it was an ingenious idea and I thought it was done very well.
The novel focuses on a group of new mums. Six of them are having a party to celebrate the arrival of their new babies. They have steadily grown closer over the last few months as their pregnancies have progressed. The party, however, ends in catastrophe when one member of the group ends up dead. It is up to DS Alison Hegarty to work out if there was foul play here or if the death was a tragic accident. She is determined to find out the truth.
The characters are all very different. It was interesting seeing them all interact with each other, and it kept me thinking about which ones really got on with one another. It is clear that they all have their own opinions of each member of the group, and this is what drives tension between them. This is even though some of them seem to be quite close friends.
Alison has a complex case on her hands to deal with. There are conflicting accounts about what happened the night of the party. Which one of them is telling the truth? Who can Alison trust? The book is primarily told from the viewpoint of Jax and Allison. Jax is an interesting character having recently got together with a twenty-four-year-old man; Jax is in her late thirties. Prior to her getting together with her most recent boyfriend, Jax broke off her relationship with her previous partner just before they were about to get married. I did wonder about her decision to date someone quite a few years younger than she was.
Alison is also a character who I liked and found interesting. Although she wants to see the investigation through, it’s clear that she finds being surrounded by this group of new mum’s difficult. Allison would like to be a mum herself but has found getting pregnant difficult. This did make me wonder if this would have any effect on her investigation.
I loved the final denouement as the story raced towards its conclusion. It was clear that the book could still go either way and Claire McGowan kept me utterly gripped until I reached the final page.
The Push was highly engrossing. For me, this was more of a character driven story, and I really liked that. Claire McGowan breathes life into them, keeping you completely invested in the novel. An excellent read, I really enjoyed it.
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication date: 12th November 2020
Print length: 367 pages
The Push is available to buy: